ISLAND politicians from across Europe made a commitment to achieving major climate change objectives recently.
In an historic event in Brussels last week, a pact was signed between 12 island authorities to make a commitment to cut emissions by 20 per cent in the next decade among a list of other objectives.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar who are coordinating the project, were represented by Convener Alex MacDonald, Leader Angus Campbell and the Project Coordinator for the Comhairle, Consultant Derek McKim.
Speaking at the event, Mr MacDonald said: “The Pact of Islands makes a number of significant commitments such as to submit an Islands Sustainable Energy Action Plan, to develop a pipeline of bankable projects and mobilise sustainable energy investments in their respective territories.”
He added: “The 30-month project will help making a significant contribution in achieving EU sustainable energy and climate change targets, such as the reduction of CO2 emissions by 20 per cent or more and the improvement of energy efficiency by 20 per cent or more by 2020.”
The Comhairle are the only island group in the UK represented along with authorities from Denmark, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Sweden.
Other aims of the pact are to: to go beyond the objectives set by the EU for 2020, reducing the CO2 emissions in their respective territories by at least 20%; to submit an Islands Sustainable Energy Action Plan including a Baseline Emission Inventory which outlines how the objectives will be reached; to submit an implementation report at least every second year following the submission of the Action Plan for evaluation, monitoring and verification purposes; to organise Energy Days, in cooperation with the European Commission and with other stakeholders, allowing citizens to benefit directly from the opportunities and advantages offered by a more intelligent use of energy, and to regularly inform the local media on developments concerning the action plan; to attend and contribute to events organised by European Institutions relating to the Pact of Islands & the Covenant of Mayors; to mobilise sustainable energy investments in their respective territories.
Approximately 3.5 per cent of European citizens live on islands and this percentage increases significantly during the high tourism season, adding pressure to the islands’ ecosystems, transport systems, energy systems and water requirements.