Devolved powers for Scotland could boost low-carbon energy

Scotland can continue its low carbon ambitions as part of a still-united UK, says climate organisation

Scotland said "no thanks" to independence (Pic: Flickr/Stephen Fyfe)

Scotland said “no thanks” to independence
(Pic: Flickr/Stephen Fyfe)

By Megan Darby

Scotland will not break away from the UK after 55% of voters rejected independence in yesterday’s referendum.

The result means that the UK will continue to have a single delegation at climate talks, while Scotland may use its devolved powers to pursue a more ambitious carbon cutting target.

With a record turnout of 87%, the vote nonetheless showed widespread dissatisfaction with Westminster politics and prompted promises of constitutional reform.

Prime minister David Cameron said: “Now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward.”

Mark Kenber, CEO of the Climate Group, said: “As a member of the Climate Group States & Regions Alliance, Scotland has been an inspiration for its significant climate achievements and a world leader for renewable power. Last year alone, Scotland received 46% of its electricity from renewable energy.

“The leadership Scotland shows is exactly what we need from regional governments in tackling climate change, and now that it will remain part of the union we hope that Scotland will continue to set a clear example on the benefit low carbon technologies can provide, both in terms of sustainable resources and economic growth.”

Under its existing powers, the Scottish Government has set a target to cut carbon emissions 42% from 1990 levels by 2020.

It is also planning to meet 100% of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewable energy.

Scottish environment minister Paul Wheelhouse told RTCC an independent Scotland could be a green role model and speak with its own voice at climate talks.

However, analysts warned Scottish independence put investment in renewables at risk.

Subsidies for wind farms and other renewable schemes are levied on consumers across the UK. A split threatened to disrupt that support.

Ian Warwick, CEO at Deepbridge Capital said: “We are delighted with the result as it allows us to now progress plans to invest further in Scotland. Scotland is full of great entrepreneurship and innovation and a is great area for renewable energy projects – all of which require investment, which we can now continue to facilitate.”

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