Posted on 28 March 2007
The report, Towards a Low Footprint Scotland, launched this week, calculates that if everyone in the world consumed natural resources and generated carbon dioxide at the same rate as in Scotland, we would need three planets to support us. It concludes that Scotland’s "ecological footprint" needs to be cut by 75% by 2050 in order to live within its fair share of the planet's resources.
The report suggests that the reduction can be achieved through more efficient products and better, less wasteful, consumption. It says that moving to a lower footprint economy will place Scotland at the leading edge of global environmental initiatives, as well as reaping benefits through jobs, health, and a more just society.
A low carbon lifestyle is compatible with high of quality of life
Dr John Barrett
Elizabeth Leighton, Senior Policy Officer with WWF Scotland - one of the organisations which commissioned the report - said "Technology alone can’t fix our ecological overdraft. The clear message from this report is that unsustainable behaviour is embedded in the fabric of our lives. Although individuals, business and government all have a role to play, we can’t be expected to swim against the tide. Government must take the lead in creating the right conditions for change."
To achieve the necessary 75% reduction in Footprint, the report contains far-reaching recommendations for the Scottish Executive, covering leadership, regulation, incentives and changes in spending policies.
Policy recommendations include raising the energy efficiency of all homes; establishing a resource-efficient procurement policy; new standards for sustainable healthy food in public services and linking transport, and planning strategies to reduce the need to travel, stabilising CO2 emissions from transport by 2015.
George Tarvit, Chair of Scotland's Global Footprint Project said: "This report is a valuable contribution to the debate about how Scotland can reduce its global footprint - a Scottish Executive commitment. It leaves little doubt about the need to take action now, and the many challenges and opportunities ahead for change."
The report concludes that Scotland could be the first country in the world to seriously transform policy, government communications and financial incentives so that they reward sustainable living.
Report author, Dr John Barrett, of SEI at the University of York, said: "A low carbon lifestyle is compatible with high of quality of life.
"In a ‘one planet’ Scotland, we would live in warm comfortable homes that are highly energy efficient with a high proportion of the energy coming from renewable sources. These homes would be located close to our work, shopping, schools and leisure facilities, reducing the need to travel. Our diets would be healthy and balanced, taking advantage of local and organic produce. Most importantly we would have more time for our friends, family and community."