Carbon Neutral Islands: project progress report

We announced the commitment to support at least three islands to become fully carbon neutral by 2040 in the Programme for Government 2021-2022. This was raised further at COP 26 and the project now aims to support six islands become carbon neutral.

Research Supporting the Project

Mapping the landscape

An important first step of the Project was mapping past and current climate change accounting exercises on Scottish islands and previous climate change related projects on Scottish islands and on oversea islands, with a specific focus on islands in Northern Europe (figure below). This mapping exercise was carried out by Ricardo following a commission from ClimateXchange.

Map showing the locations of case studies highlighted in the mapping exercise. Orkney, Tórshavn - Faroe Islands,  Bornholm - Denmark

One of the key findings from the study was that because of the diversity of Scottish islands it is important that the project provides decarbonisation support within a framework that is flexible and adaptable to local needs. Not all islands will need a greenhouse gas inventory to the same degree of accuracy or coverage. However, there is a need for an overarching framework that ensures consistency and comparability and that supports continuous improvement over time. Similarly, a climate plan or funding option that is relevant to one island may not be relevant to another island. That said, there are considerable opportunities for joint working and cross-learning between island communities within Scotland.

Overall, the study concluded that the project offers an opportunity for island communities to learn from each other, and to engage with others outside of Scotland, to continue to understand approaches, options and best practices in accounting GHG emissions, implementing climate action and unlocking climate finance.

Skills and sectors analysis

In December 2022 we will commence a study, commissioned through climateXchange, that will map the net zero gap skills on Scottish islands and carry out a net zero readiness assessment of island based relevant socio-economic sectors.

Net zero gap skills: The study will map skills needed to enable island decarbonisation.

The goal will be to highlight to relevant stakeholders the need to strengthen existing training programmes or develop new ones.

Net zero readiness assessment: The study will assess current decarbonisation efforts of different economic sectors. The goal is to provide data for the future development of sector specific decarbonisation guidance, which will be informed by the outcomes of the net zero gap skills part of the study.

The study will shadow the six carbon neutral islands while having all Scottish islands in mind. This will contribute to the replicability driver of the Project.



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