Green jobs and more investment to create clean energy are what’s needed to deliver Net Zero for Scotland by 2045.
That’s the message Scottish secondary school pupils have given to energy industry leaders at an official COP26 event – hosted by ScottishPower Renewables – in the climate conference’s Green Zone at Glasgow Science Centre.
‘Let’s Talk Energy’ saw 80 young people from 10 secondary schools come together to create their own Net Zero Energy Policy for Scotland – setting out the changes the country needs to make to achieve the Scottish Government’s target of Net Zero by 2045.
Their top three priorities were:
- Supporting skills development, including training options for young people in the renewables industry, to deliver green jobs and a positive long-term future
- Investment to increase the amount of clean, green energy available from the likes of wind and solar power and battery storage
- Improving processes to make renewable energy available faster than ever before and making it easier to switch to a low-carbon lifestyle.
Making it simpler to switch to greener forms of transport – whether electric vehicles you can charge at home or electrifying trains and buses – and providing funding to help communities make the transition to Net Zero also scored highly.
Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Young people’s voices are being heard loud and clear at COP26 and it was inspiring and encouraging to hear their views on what we have to do now if we’re going to achieve Net Zero by 2045. They recognise fully that we need do more, and do it faster, if we’re going to address the climate emergency and they got straight to the point. As they set out, Scotland has enormous potential, but we will only achieve Net Zero with the right investment, skills development and processes in place. They have a bold vision for a cleaner and greener country, and it’s a vision that can become a reality if we all take climate action now.”
ScottishPower is the UK’s only integrated energy company and generates 100% green electricity from offshore and onshore wind. It is developing an energy model that will help the UK reach world-leading climate change targets and is investing £10billion in the UK over five years – £6 million every working day – to double its renewable generation capacity and drive forward decarbonisation to support net zero emissions. It is also a Principal Partner for COP26 and leads on the youth theme for the climate change conference.
Kate Turner, ScottishPower Renewables’ Director of Policy & Regulation, added: “We’re very proud to support young people from across the country in making their voices heard at this crucial climate change conference, and see such considered and thoughtful feedback. This is a great opportunity for the youth of today to influence the policies of tomorrow and play a vital role in shaping the legacy of COP26. I have no doubt their efforts can help ensure we all enjoy a cleaner, greener and better future, quicker – and we will do all we can to make that happen.”
‘Let’s Talk Energy’ is part of a long-term educational partnership between ScottishPower Renewables and Glasgow Science Centre. The two organisations developed the joint COP26 programme to help children and young people engage with the United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was specially selected by the UK Cabinet Office to take place in the Green Zone.
Glasgow Science Centre helped the young people aged 11-14 research renewable energy policy ahead of the event through home and classroom learning. The pupils explored how renewable technologies such as onshore wind, offshore wind, solar power and green hydrogen could be used to achieve Net Zero.
Schools taking part in the event were: Earlston High School, Edinburgh Academy, Govan High, Hutchesons’ Grammar, Mearns Castle, Renfrew High, Strathaven Academy, St Aloysius, Turnbull High School and Woodfarm.
As part of its COP26 education programme, ScottishPower Renewables is also working with Glasgow Science Centre on a Renewables Challenge for 124 primary schools across Scotland. The four-week education programme will help P5-P7 pupils from learn about COP26, renewable energy, green jobs and going carbon neutral.