The time is now - each of us must tackle the climate change threat

The Woodland Trust is supporting crofters in the planting of trees across the islands to help protect our land.
The Woodland Trust is supporting crofters in the planting of trees across the islands to help protect our land.

In the efforts to tackle the Climate Emergency facing us all politicians in the Scottish Parliament recently took a lead in passing the ‘Climate Change Bill’ - but what does it mean for us and what can we do?

Scottish Ministers must lay a climate change plan before the Scottish Parliament within five years.

TIG has worked tirelessly for years to reduce emissions from buildings in the Outer Hebrides.   Between 2017 and now, they have cut emissions in homes by 1,165 tons just by insulating alone. That's the equivalent of 1,423 return flights between Glasgow and New York.

TIG has worked tirelessly for years to reduce emissions from buildings in the Outer Hebrides. Between 2017 and now, they have cut emissions in homes by 1,165 tons just by insulating alone. That's the equivalent of 1,423 return flights between Glasgow and New York.

The plan must take into account: Energy supply, transport, business and industrial process, residential and public buildings, waste management, land use, land use change and forestry and agriculture.

In the Western Isles we must also consider all of these aspects. Let’s look at them one at a time.

ENERGY SUPPLY

In the Islands we know that we must reconsider what we do about community energy since a major Island-based renewable energy project - The Stornoway Wind Farm - failed to secure the Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD).

So, how can we generate local energy for cheaper use, decarbonise our energy and cut local fuel poverty? Climate justice is important – even for the folks in our islands.

Community Energy Scotland have some fantastic ideas that the Islands could drive forward.

BUSINESSES AND INDUSTRIAL PROCESSES

Our industries need review. Let’s set a baseline for each - increase use of renewable energy - review and reform them.

Where heat or hot water is a by-product of processes, let’s trap and use that energy in the surrounding buildings.

TRANSPORT

If we generate local clean energy why can’t we power our cars and vans with it?

My previous column demonstrated the cost effectiveness of electric cars. Let’s power them with our own energy.

Another column talked of the potential for hydrogen powered ferries and electricity powered aircraft.

There are 170 patents for electric aircraft tabled.

Eviation has a nine-seater plane that can go 650 miles. That’s perfect for Benbecula, Barra, Stornoway trips.

IN OUR HOMES AND PUBLIC BUILDINGS

TIG have worked tirelessly for years to reduce emissions from buildings in the Outer Hebrides.

Between 2017 and now, they have cut emissions in homes by 1,165 tons just by insulating alone. That’s the equivalent of 1,423 return flights between Glasgow and New York.

But every home must take action, including all of us committing to cutting out wasteful energy use. And there is help with this from The Energy Advisory Service and Energy in Transition Team.

Waste management is an area which CnES is already leading the way on in Scotland.

However, synthetic gas can also be produced from certain types of waste, what if this could be used to generate energy and heat.

Gasification is possible, particularly from organic based waste. Why not try?

LAND USE AND FORESTRY

Areas in Uist are under threat from rising water – not just sea levels but land based water too because of increased rainfall. Dunes are essential for the survival of communities there. Let’s protect these vital defences.

Point and Sandwick Trust is working alongside The Woodland Trust to support crofters in the planting of trees across the islands. We should do more of this.

AGRICULTURE

The Farm Advisory Service offers support for crofters to understand climate change issues and what they can do in using their land and equipment.

For information see the website: https:// www.fas.scot/environment/ climate-change/

Of course there is local support available too (see below).

We all need to act. Now!

To discuss how to take immediate personal action you can email me: brian@tighean.co.uk or call me on 07741652612. You can also pledge to cut your own emissions by signing up at the website: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/energyintransition/