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Climate change, sustainability and the need for a new industrial revolution in Scotland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 April 2013

David Sugden
Affiliation:
School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP
Janette Webb
Affiliation:
Institute of Governance, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ
Andrew Kerr
Affiliation:
Edinburgh Centre for Low Carbon Innovation and Skills, High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP

Abstract

This paper sets the wider global and Scottish context for this Special Issue of EESTRSE. Climate change is inextricably linked to wellbeing, security and sustainability. It poses a fundamental challenge to the way we organise society and our relationship to the exploitation of the Earth's resources. Rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, linked to burning fossil fuels and land use, present a major risk of climate change, with serious but uncertain impacts emerging at a regional scale. A new industrial revolution is needed to achieve energy security and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with energy efficiency and energy production emitting low or no CO2 at its heart. At present, on a global scale, there is a mismatch between the emphasis on economic growth and the need to reduce emissions and achieve a sustainable use of resources. A more sustainable blueprint for the future is emerging in Europe and Scotland has much to gain economically and socially from this change. Scotland's ambitious emission reduction targets (42% cut by 2020 and 80% by 2050) are achievable, but require major commitment and investment. Despite success in cutting emissions from activities within Scotland, Scotland's consumption-based emissions rose by 11% in 1996–2004.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Society of Edinburgh 2012 

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