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Scotland’s green energy credentials examined ahead of COP26

19 March 2021

MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee have launched an inquiry into renewable energy in Scotland just months before the world descends on Glasgow for November’s COP26 UN Climate Conference.

The Scottish and UK Governments have already set ambitious decarbonization targets to reach ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2045 and 2050 respectively. Both administrations are keen to bolster their leadership credentials in clean energy to smooth the path to a deal that would realise the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, keeping global warming to within 1.5C.

Reports also recently emerged that Whitehall is considering a suspension of new oil and gas exploration licenses. The UK Government’s latest energy white paper, detailing its ‘net-zero’ strategy, gives key roles to offshore wind and carbon capture and storage technology. In both sets of technologies, Scotland has a significant advantage due to its high winds and its geology. Meanwhile, Scotland is already close to generating 100% of its energy demand from renewables according to a report last year by the Climate Change Committee.

The new inquiry is likely to examine:

  • how ‘net-zero’ targets can be met by development of renewable energy in Scotland;
  • the technologies that would best serve Scotland and how challenges in their development can be overcome;
  • employment potential of renewables in Scotland and how a ‘just transition’ for oil and gas workers can be achieved; and
  • how the UK and Scottish Governments can work together to reach their green goals.

Chair's comment

Committee Chair Pete Wishart MP said, “In November, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland and, as hosts, the onus will be on us to demonstrate to the world what can be done to tackle climate change. Some of the world’s loftiest targets to eliminate net carbon emissions can be found in Scotland and its critical that we set an example that the world can follow.

The UK is already a leader in offshore wind, thanks in part to the examples off the coast of Aberdeen, a city best known for its links to oil and gas. The future of Aberdeen is the future of the world in a microcosm – transitioning effectively and fairly from dirty to cleaner energies. Knowing how to address the challenges involved is vital in this critical juncture for the health of the planet.

Our inquiry will assess success of the net-zero targets, identify the opportunities Scotland has and the challenges we face in delivering decarbonisation and a just transition for workers from fossil fuels.”

Submitting evidence

The Committee has opened the inquiry to evidence submissions. Those who wish to contribute to the inquiry by answering any topics covered by the inquiry can submit written evidence on the inquiry webpage containing all the terms of reference, until Friday 14 May.

Further information

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