A PETITION with more than 500 signatures calling on Shetland Islands Council (SIC) to declare a climate emergency will be presented to councillors next week.
Shetland Climate Action wants the SIC to provide a clear signal of the seriousness of the situation by joining other local authorities in Scotland that have already done so.
The council is set to discuss what it can do to mitigate its and the community’s greenhouse gas emissions at the environment and transport committee on Tuesday (21 January) and the full council the following day.
Members of the local grassroots group will have the chance to address councillors at the start of the full council meeting.
Councillors will discuss a report by director of infrastructure, John Smith, in which he proposes to build on and, where possible, accelerate the council’s response to climate change and to further develop an integrated Shetland Climate Change Action Plan.
At 10.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year, Shetland has – unsurprisingly – one of the worst, if not the worst, carbon footprint of all UK local authorities.
Over 50 per cent of current council CO2 emissions come from internal ferry operations.
Shetland Climate Action said a greater sense of urgency in responding to the climate crisis is needed.
“Declaring a climate emergency is more than just ‘words’ and our petition sets out what it could mean for SIC,” the group said.
“We’d like to see the council set up a working group to develop a Climate Emergency Action Plan and agree a target date for achieving net zero emissions.
“We also encourage the council to engage more with the public on this issue, promoting an understanding of the climate emergency and helping residents explore Shetland-specific solutions.”
“We recognise the carbon reductions that the Council has made in recent years, however Shetland requires a much greater sense of urgency – the longer we leave it, the harder it will be to transition to a greener, cleaner community”.
Twenty local authorities in Scotland and over 1,200 local authorities worldwide declared a climate emergency in 2019.
Shetland Climate Action’s petition can be found here. The council’s agenda for Tuesday’s transport and environment committee meeting, including the climate change – strategic outline programme reports can found here.
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 430 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