FM receives international climate change award


First Minister Alex Salmond has been announced as the recipient of an international climate change award.

Mike Rann, the outgoing Premier of South Australia, has announced to a conference of European climate change leaders meeting in Lyon, France, that he is awarding the third South Australia International Climate Change Award to the First Minister.

The award was established in 2009 by the South Australian Government to recognise and encourage leadership by governments in response to the challenges of climate change. Previous winners have been former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 and Quebec Premier Jean Charest in 2010.

The First Minister said:

"It is a great honour to receive this award which I accept as recognition of the fact that our legislation on climate change is truly world-leading. The Scottish Government has already taken the lead with our ambitious legislation to cut emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and we are continuing to demonstrate that leadership to world leaders by being part of the Climate Group where our strong example can inspire other nations to equally ambitious action.

"The Scottish Government recognises the urgency of addressing climate change and is an active partner in the common desire to create a sustainable future."

Premier Rann said the award honoured the First Minister's long-term commitment to leading Scotland towards a low-carbon future. Addressing the international climate change conference in Lyon, where the First Minister's award was announced, he said:

"Alex Salmond has also been an extraordinary leader and just look at the examples that Scotland provides to the rest of us. Its commitment in 2009 to cut emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and then to go further and cut them by 80 per cent by 2050.

"It's great to hear that Scotland is already half way there to its 2020 target. Already Scotland has about a third of its electricity coming from renewable energy. And most recently its energy efficiency initiatives have really led Europe.

"It's tremendous to see also its community engagement process. Public engagement process that has seen the Government of Scotland working with so many communities in order to demonstrate and involve people in climate change action.

"My Government and so many Governments around the world have worked closely with Scotland and we all admire Alex's leadership"

Luc Bas, Director of European Programs at The Climate Group, which co-hosted the Lyon conference at which the First Minister's award was announced, said:

"Scotland has been a true leader for years now with the Climate Group's States and Regions Alliance co-chaired by Quebec's and South Australia's Premiers. Climate and clean energy policy need to be at the heart of a government's overall policy.

"Under First Minister Alex Salmond's leadership Scotland has become one of the most ambitious low carbon development countries in the world.

"The Climate Group congratulates the First Minister with this important acknowledgement. We are delighted to count Scotland among our members, and continue to work with you on the clean revolution."

Last month, when he attended the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh, former US Vice President Al Gore yesterday hailed Scotland as an 'inspiration to the world' in its commitment to green power.

Mr Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change, said:

"I admire and applaud the First Minister's leadership in promoting the development of renewable energy. His government is providing inspiration to others in many parts of the world."

Scotland's key achievements on Climate Change

1. 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

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.

2. 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.

3. 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. Previous winners

2009 - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California (USA) received the first leadership award in honour of his aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets, accomplishments in green energy and clean technology, and his extraordinary leadership in the struggle against global climate change.

2010 - Premier Jean Charest of Québec (Canada) received the award in recognition of his inspirational record of local and international climate change leadership combined with ambitious targets and impressive greenhouse gas reduction results.