Efficiency versus climate change in Scotland

Written by Karma Dewari, CNN On the outskirts of Glasgow in Scotland, this unfinished office tower has been the focus of fierce debates about where Scotland should draw its priorities. The flagship project of…

Efficiency versus climate change in Scotland

Written by Karma Dewari, CNN

On the outskirts of Glasgow in Scotland, this unfinished office tower has been the focus of fierce debates about where Scotland should draw its priorities.

The flagship project of the world’s largest carbon neutral investment company , Climate Promises , the building was originally conceived as part of the ambitious C4G Glasgow project , a huge multi-faceted multi-sector initiative to create a “Glasgow of the future” on environmental grounds.

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“So many of the investments that we’ve made in Glasgow have been really centered around the City 2030 project,” Brian Gleeson, CEO of Climate Promises, told CNN.

“This building is, as an iconic, structure, central to that … and it just reflects the ethos and ethos of the project.”

Sustainability being a cornerstone of the work, the £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) project did incorporate its parts in a “back-of-house” facility called The Blue City , which includes “something like 60-odd green buildings and some of the furthest integration of solar energy use in the private sector in Europe,” said the British foreign minister David Lidington in a 2018 BBC documentary on the City.

But Scottish architect Hywel Jones, who has worked on a number of the building’s many design projects, said, “there has been too much talk of climate and not enough action” since the City 2030 concept was launched in 2014.

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One of his recent visits to the completed office, he said, “just showed me the lack of ambition in the bigger picture … we still think of it as peripheral stuff. Well there is a much bigger picture.”

At the time of writing, the climate commitment legislation under Scottish government was in disarray, as a climate change change spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said it was “a waste of time and resources to bring down more unnecessary emissions targets.”

Stephen Lennon, leader of the Scottish Conservative party, said: “It’s time to drop the politics of environmental targets and use the tax and regulatory levers available to us in Scotland to encourage growth in areas where it can make a real difference to the environment.”

Coincidentally, the government wanted to make a decision on the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill on April 1, ahead of the Council of Europe Environment Ministerial meeting later in the month.

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The proposal, if passed, would remove between 90,000 and 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, according to the Climate Action Scotland website.

But speaking at the council meeting, former minister for climate and energy Mark Ruskell said: “We may have some cause for concern as we begin to be more prominent and a more visible voice in this area … the possibility that we’ve sacrificed people’s rights to be consulted and to have any meaningful contribution to decisions that affect them on environmental issues causes alarm, that’s a big concern.”

While some progress has been made, the SNP government announced in early April that the cost of delivering the Green Bank Scotland had risen by almost half, taking it from £500 million to £841 million, while ensuring the climate targets remain intact.

Meanwhile, Glasgow, the Financial Times’ survey predicted would be the UK’s most expensive city to live in 2032, also remained at the bottom of the UK’s local government league tables.

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