Good luck to local council election candidate Stewart Douglas with his demands that the SIC declare a climate emergency (Open letter to SIC: Failure to act on climate change is no longer viable; SN, 24 October 2019).
Being a Scottish Green Party member it is certainly something very close to my heart but I know from my own communications with the SIC, the evaluation of how the SIC view Shetland’s unique situation and also being a realist, it’s a demand that’s a bit of a waste of time as the SIC cannot make such a declaration.
To do so would require some political support and the accompanying strategy for immediate transitioning away from its partnership with the oil and gas industry and seeking new opportunities.
Contrary to this, the SIC has pledged its support for continued oil and gas interests and revenues for as long as possible, which I believe is projected as far as 2050, a date many experts believe could be 10 – 15 years past the earth’s climate tipping point.
This alone ties the SIC’s hands behind its back, and any climate change declaration, however desired by many, would just be meaningless words resulting in embarrassment as little or no action becomes noticeable by its absence.
In addition, there are other serious climate impacting circumstances that disproportionately effect Shetland, making us probably the worse carbon emitting community in the UK, and in fairness to the SIC, almost entirely out of their control or ability to change.
These include our external and internal ferries, which are the vital blood flow of our communities, and the way we light and heat our homes and industry.
Oh, there are things Shetland could do such as fund replacement internal ferries with hydrogen powered vessels or fixed links using the Shetland Charitable Trust’s ‘rainy day nest egg’, but that organisation seems to be run by a little group of folk who seem to just want to sit and count it and don’t appear very charitable, so not something the SIC can influence.
The rest, such as external ferries, land reform (to allow better and more productive and locally sustainable use of the land) and serious reforms to the Scottish planning system to cut the barriers of red tape, are all in the hands of two remote governments who have more on their plates to bother with than small island communities.
So if Stewart Douglas or any other supporter of an SIC climate emergency declaration disagree with my take on this, I’d love to hear why this declaration is seen as essential in the much needed change in Shetland’s carbon direction.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 530 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News