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Scotland will be raising a glass to toast Andrew, its apostle and patron saint on 30 November, even though the Galilee fisherman’s Caledonian connections are tenuous to say the least. Legend has it his remains were buried in a chapel in his namesake Fife fishing town, and he was apparently crucified on an X-shaped cross; hence Scotland’s saltire flag. Aside from that, very little else is known about him.
Perhaps a greater reason to toast Scotland this St Andrew’s Day, is its admirable energy efficiency credentials.
Scotland leads the way when it comes to green energy. The Committee on Climate Change – an independent, statutory body - recently stated that it regularly outperforms the rest of the UK when it comes to slashing carbon emissions.
Why is this? Well, there’s no doubt that power generation is a major factor. Three years ago, renewables became Scotland’s largest power source. And, only last month, Scottish Power became the first major UK energy company to generate all its electricity from wind.
But there are other reasons too. The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets. Targets like recycling 70% of all waste by 2025, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds over the next 14 years.
The sector has risen to these challenges. The establishment of organisations like Zero Waste Scotland, who carry out vital work in cutting industry and consumer waste, and Keep Scotland Beautiful, who campaign for environmental behaviour change and manage the successful Climate Challenge Fund, demonstrates the adaptability and a willingness of the sector to meet and beat these targets.
The Energy Saving Trust has played a big part too, through our involvement in various ground-breaking and hugely successful Scottish programmes.
The Scottish Government have set another, longer term target too: to achieve a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. No one disagrees that this target is ambitious; but everyone involved in reducing the effects of climate change agrees it’s an essential one.
With continued support from the Scottish Government, we’re aiming to be at the forefront of the climate change reduction journey in Scotland until 2050, and long after.
We want to be part of a very real legend that’s not lost in the midst of time, or the source of debate for future generations. That’s the legend of Scotland meeting and exceeding emissions targets, and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Happy St Andrew’s Day!