Scottish First Minister Visits Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond today met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Premier Wen of China and shared his vision of a global society with a secure energy future.

The First Minister took part in a majilis – a public audience held by the ruler Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi – with leaders and heads of state prior to taking his seat beside UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Premier Wen for the opening ceremony of the annual World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

The First Minister spoke with the UN Secretary General, Premier Wen, President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of the UN General Assembly HE Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister of South Korea Kim Hwang-sik, as well as other world leaders and opinion formers gathered to share their views on energy security, sustainability and the transition to a low carbon future.The First Minister said:”Scotland’s energy challenges and champions make us a leader in the international sustainability debate. We are also world leaders in the transition to a low carbon economy and in particular the renewables revolution.

It is only fitting that we should be part of the foremost annual meeting committed to finding solutions to the energy needs of the future.”The First Minister went on to address a panel discussion on Action Towards Universal Energy Access. He told the conference – which included delegates such as Todd Stern, US Special Envoy on Climate Change, Dr Georg B Schutte, State Secretary German; Timu Ivanov, Head of the Russian Energy Agency; Chad Holliday, Chairman of the Bank of America, Farooq Abdullah, Minister of New and Renewable Energy India and Martin Lidegaard, Energy Minister, Denmark – that Governments and Society had equal roles to play in the transition.And he again urged world leaders to make 2012 a ‘Year of Climate Justice’ ahead of the Rio +20 Climate Change Summit in June this year.

The First Minister first raised the issue of climate justice during a landmark speech to the influential Communist Central Party School in Beijing during his recent trip to China.Climate justice was also raised by the First Minister and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a joint communiqué to the UNFCC meeting in Durban South Africa, at the end of 2011.

Mr Salmond said:”It is vitally important that, as the world moves towards economic recovery in 2012, we place climate justice at the very heart of the decisions we make on energy policy and economic and social development in the coming months.

I believe we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enshrine this important principle – that economic development should be linked to human rights – in global energy policy, ensuring that countries and communities least able to cope with the extreme weather events climate change brings are not further disadvantaged.

In the run up to the UN Rio+20 conference in Brazil in June and beyond, I am calling for climate justice to be made central to decisions taken by major countries on energy and development.”

Given that one of the themes of this year’s conference is linking the green economy to sustainable development, an important part of Scotland’s contribution to Rio+20 will be to champion climate justice.”

The First Minister also called for binding targets for greenhouse gas reductions to provide long-term certainty for businesses and investors.

He said:”In Scotland, we have a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent, from 1990 levels, by 2050. And we also have an interim target of reducing emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 – the most ambitious target of its kind in the world.

However as we move towards an international agreement on greenhouse gas reductions – and I very much hope that such an agreement will be achieved – we need to be able to ensure that politicians and governments are held to account in the short term, as well as in the medium and long term. The developed world, which is chiefly responsible for past greenhouse gas emissions, must surely take the lead in doing this.”

Now in its fifth year, WFES is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to promoting advancement of renewable energy. More than 26,000 attendees, including 3,000 delegates, 650 exhibiting companies and 20 national pavilions, are participating in the summit. The conference is a major lead-in to the Rio de Janeiro climate change conference in Brazil in June later this year.Scotland’s key achievements on Climate Change:Emissions Reduction Targets:

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 sets world leading statutory targets of at least 42 per cent emissions cuts by 2020 and at least 80 per cent cuts by 2050, compared to 1990. The Report on Proposals and Policies, published in March 2011, puts in place the annual markers and sets the strategic direction to take Scotland to the 42 per cent target for 2020. Scotland is almost two-thirds to achieving the target of reducing emissions by 42 per cent by 2020: Scotland’s emissions in 2009 had fallen by 27.6 per cent from the 1990 base year (these figures include international aviation and shipping and participation in the EU – Emissions Trading Scheme).Renewable Energy:

Scotland currently generates around a third of its electricity demands from renewables. In May 2011 the First Minister introduced a new target for generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020. The Scottish Government’s £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund will leverage private sector investment to develop ports and manufacturing facilities for offshore renewables. Scotland has secured lease agreements for offshore wind projects with the potential to generate 10GW by 2020. The Scottish Government’s £10 million Saltire Prize for marine energy is one of the world’s largest ever innovation prizes, attracting 150 registrations of interest from 31 countries. The Aberdeen-based Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC), which the Scottish Government supports, delivered over 100 million Euro of investment in Scotland in its first year and is supporting major Scottish projects in marine energy and grid development. Scottish Development International – part of Scottish Government – has helped secure major inward investment in Scotland’s renewables sector from world-leading firms Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Doosan. Energy Efficiency:

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Action Plan, published in October 2010, includes the ambitious headline target to reduce final energy consumption by 12 per cent by 2020. New 2010 energy standards for housing will see all new homes deliver a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. To date over 500,000 households living in older properties have been offered free or low-cost insulation measures. Scottish Government is working with the UK Government to implement the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC). The CRC started in April 2010, with around 200 participants in Scotland and will reduce emissions from large commercial and public sector organisations.Climate Justice:

The Scottish Government is working with Malawi in Southern Africa to help meet the Government of Malawi’s target of increasing electricity access from eight per cent to 15 per cent of the population by 2015. Scotland is assisting through an innovative Community Rural Electrification and Development project, aimed at improving the sustainability of rural solar panel deployments in Malawi – with an eye not only to environmental sustainability but also income generation. The Scottish Government has also worked with The Maldives, which has the ambition of being the first carbon neutral state by 2020. Scotland has assisted by producing, with its publication in August 2010, a report into developing The Maldives potential for marine energy. Produced by the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Practice at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, the report looks at both the technological and socio-economic dimensions of deploying marine renewable in the future energy mix, with a focus on assessing the suitability of the conditions and natural resources in the waters around the Maldives for producing marine energy.Community Engagement:

Since 2008, the Scottish Government has made available £37.7 million through the Climate Challenge Fund to encourage local communities to reduce their carbon footprint. A total of 345 communities across Scotland have benefited from the fund to date. The Scottish Government’s Public Engagement Strategy on climate change, published in December 2010, identified ten behaviour areas that Scottish society need to engage with and adopt to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.


Offshore Wind Staff, January 17, 2012