The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently marked its 40th anniversary in this year’s World Environment Day. The theme in the celebrations was ‘The Green Economy’ which in itself leads to a scrutiny of how well the world has adapted or at least embraced green technology. For instance, you might want to look into Europe, which has continually left a remarkable trail in the green economy for others to follow.
Countries like Germany, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic have indeed forged so much ahead in green economy leaving a lot to be emulated if not admirably commended. Denmark and Scotland have stood out in their zeal to cut down on negative environmental impacts that could be caused during the running of their respective economies, whether in their industrial production or emanating from their population’s consumption.
Take for instance Denmark’s Parliament that passed legislation to establish what could be termed as two of the most ambitious green energy targets of any nation: 35% by 2020 and 100% by 2050. Currently, wind energy alone caters for 25% of Denmark’s power consumption, and it targets to double that to 50% by 2020. Other supplementary sources are renewable heat, biogas, smart grid and other green technologies.
To the West of Denmark and across the North Sea, Scotland has gone even to much greater heights and is predicted to remain far much ahead in the next decade. Going by last year’s data, 33% or 1/3 of the country’s domestic power consumption came from renewable electricity, surpassing its preset target of 31%. In addition, Scotland is on the way to meet 100% target by 2020 and produce more for exportation.
Denmark’s Minister for Climate Energy and Building, Martin Lidegaard, while announcing the passage of the bill stated that the country’s target was to once again attain global leadership in transition to green energy. This, he further pointed out, was a good strategy to avert the country from dependence on oil and coal whose prices are ever increasing, and create innumerable employment opportunities for many years.
Similar, Scotland’s Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson was equally optimistic and pointed out further that it was time to have environmental justice put in place by advocating for green economy initiatives. He was joined by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in the colorful World Environment Day celebrations.
Giving statistical projections, Scotland reported that not only have more than 11,000 jobs been created in the country this far, but also that by 2020 some 17,000 more will have been guaranteed. Plans are already in place to install up to 10 Gigawatts of off shore wind generating capacity in Scottish waters which are projected to bring revenue of around 30 billion sterling pounds ($46.44 billion) of investment by 2020. Job creation will also be boosted by emergent wave and tidal energy industry where up to 1.6 GW output capacity has been planned for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.
Scotland is already into developing offshore wind, wave and tidal energy farms with a total planned capacity of 11GW by 2020. The advantage is cutting of costs in electricity consumption, and reduction of dependence on imported fossil fuels. This is predicted to cause a reduction of costs to 1,285 pounds from 1,379 pounds. This is according to a research study by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.
There are plans to even extend this great advancement and positivity to some other disadvantaged countries around the globe. Just last week, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Mary Robinson joined Ministers Salmond and Stevenson in launching the multimillion British pound Climate Justice Fund to help finance green energy water projects in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Rwanda.