Intolerance: Scotland's Environmental Impact in World's Worst 30

Scotland's impact on the environment -- its 'global footprint' -- has been revealed for the first time. The amount of land and sea used to provide the water, energy, transport, materials and food the country needs to support its lifestyle is 2.4 times the global average. Although nowhere near the top of the league -- led by the United Arab Emirates at 5.5 and the United States of America at 5.3 -- it is, along with the UK as a whole, in the worst 30. The environment minister Mr.Ross Finnie, yesterday 2005-12-14 put reducing that ecological footprint at the forefront of The Scottish Executive's sustainable development strategy. He said if everyone on Earth lived the same way as Scotland, the resources of three planets would be needed to sustain our world, making the issue a global as well as a national priority. The Environment Minister said that past attempts to reduce energy, carbon emissions and waste, to change lifestyles and take into account items such as food air miles, had been too short-term. He told a press briefing in Edinburgh:
'Long-term strategic thought is not usually the way politicians operate. But we have to respect the limits of our planet's economy. 'Some say that we cannot change and improve. Not so - we could make £1.3 billion annual savings in energy-use alone if we changed our ways.'
The strategy, outlined in the document 'Choosing Our Future: Scotland's sustainable development', is not a quick fix, he added. It is about long-term thinking for the benefit of future generations, about educating children - and it will need public and business support to succeed. It will also require Scotland's 32 local authorities to 'toe the Executive line'. The Environmental Minister said:
'If government agrees a commitment to renewable energy, then the planning framework should set that out.
'Local authorities cannot then argue we do not need it and deny permission.'
That could apply particularly to wind farms, proposals for every one of which in Scotland have so far provoked protests. Scottish Executive figures indicate that if all mooted wind farms are built, they could meet Scotland's present total demand of 16 GigaWatts of electricity. It has also been estimated that unproductive use of resources costs the Scots manufacturing sector 300_million_GBP annually. Measuring a country's global footprint is not an exact science. 'WWF', the global environmental organisation which devised the system, warns that some ratings have to be treated with caution. For example, a high rating for countries such as Sweden, which is usually seen as eco-friendly, is largely due to its cold climate and the type and amount of heating used to counter it. That applies to some extent to Scotland's attempts at energy saving, although not to waste handling and recycling. Asked what changes he had made to his own lifestyle, The Environment Minister said:
'I'm not the greatest or most patient shopper, but I have changed my 'get in, buy and get out' approach to electrical white goods -- I do now take more time to study the energy-use rating and we use fewer chemicals in our home.'
The deputy first minister and minister for enterprise Mr.Nicol Stephen, said:
'It's not all about the big stuff, although the [Scottish] Executive will be taking a lead on energy use in our buildings.
'It's what the individual can do and I would like to see many more small wind turbines on houses. I'd rather see turbines on houses than satellite dishes.'
'The Scottish Environment Protection Agency', which estimates that the environment is worth 17_000_million_GBP/year to the Scottish public, will meet 'Scottish Natural Heritage', 'Communities Scotland', 'Scottish Enterprise' and 'Highlands and Islands Enterprise' today to discuss a joint approach to making "sustainable development a reality". The Green Party said the strategy looked good on paper, but that Scottish Executive policies were still causing chaos and pollution. But a joint statement from Scotland's environment groups, including 'WWF Scotland' and 'Friends of the Earth Scotland', welcomed its publication. ' Scots 'eco-footprint' two and a half times the global average', FORDYCE MAXWELL, The Scotsman, 2005-12-15, Th Links: Friends of the Earth Scotland (http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/) TreeHugger.com (http://treehugger.com)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly unexpected for such an underpopulated country that is used as a nuclear dump and is filled with refineries, US bases and all the crap the English don't want!!

12/20/2005 07:55:00 am  

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