Sturgeon set to outfox PM with 'opportunity to showcase' independent Scotland at COP26

Sturgeon says she is ‘determined’ to get independence referendum

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With COP26 just around the corner, Nicola Sturgeon will be keen to flaunt Scotland’s green credentials on the international arena. Scotland has already emerged as a world leader in green energy, with nearly 100 percent of last year’s electricity demand being met from renewable sources. And a recently signed partnership between the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and Scottish Greens will only serve to highlight Scotland’s energy independence and response to the climate crisis as a key reason for independence.

According to Mark Ruskell, a Greens MSP, Westminster is set to do the rest of the work for them when they promote Scotland at the COP26 summit later this autumn.

The summit will be presided over by Alok Sharma, the former Business and Energy Secretary, in Glasgow, between November 1 and November 12.

The aim of the conference is to ensure UN members are doing their part to heed the warning calls of the Paris Climate Agreement and to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Mr Ruskell told Express.co.uk: “The Government should see this as an opportunity to showcase Scotland as well, in terms of the resources that are here and the innovation that is here.”

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Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon

The Government has been urged to promote Scotland at the COP26 summit (Image: GETTY)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November (Image: GETTY)

Renewable energy could prove to be a key battleground for the Scottish Independence movement.

Mr Ruskell has previously said Scotland is in a strong position to go at it alone, but the country’s efforts were being undermined by an “uneasy relationship with Westminster”.

Scotland has heavily invested in offshore wind farms as a means of producing clean energy that can meet the demands of Scotland’s more than 5.5 million-strong population.

According to data published earlier this year, about 97.4 percent of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in the last quarter of 2020 came from renewable energy.

The nation had come tantalisingly close to a green target set in 2011, of reaching 100 percent renewable energy consumption by 2020.

Despite these green credentials, Ms Sturgeon’s government has come under fire from climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Kate Garraway grills Sturgeon on Scotland hosting COP26

Green Britain: How UK can lead the world

How the UK can lead the world in a green revolution (Image: EXPRESS)

The firebrand campaigner shamed the SNP Government for not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis, insisting Scotland is not the leading force for change it claims to be.

The 18-year-old told BBC Scotland: “Of course there might be some politicians that are slightly less worse than others. That was very mean but you get the point.

“It’s a hopeful sign that people want something that’s more ‘green’ – whatever green means – but in order to solve this we need to tackle this at a more systemic approach.”

Scotland has previously called itself a “world-leading” nation with targets to reach net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gasses by 2045.

The Scottish Government boldly announced: “Our contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within one generation.”

However, Mr Ruskell believes it will take a concentrated effort from the world’s powerhouses to fight climate change.

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Nicola Sturgeon at a renewable wind farm

Scotland has called itself a ‘world-leading’ nation in renewable energy (Image: GETTY)

Climate change protest in the UK

The UK has committed to fighting the climate crisis (Image: GETTY)

He insisted major polluters like China, India and the US have to play the part with definitive action and not just empty platitudes.

According to a report in ClimateTrade.com, the three countries are still leading the pack with the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on the globe.

China alone has contributed about 30 percent of all global emissions in the year 2019.

Mr Ruskell said: “Much of the success of COP will depend on the global players like China, India and the US and Europe coming together, and putting forwards really ambitious contributions – nationally determined contributions – but also having really clear action plans backing that up.

“It’s fine to put forward a target and countries put forward ambitious targets but it needs to be backed up by a commitment to making a transition away from coal, away from oil and gas, reducing dependency on that, investing in transport, investing in the way that we heat and cool homes around the world.”

He added: “But I think it’s an exciting time to be having COP coming to Scotland because of our industrial past, because of some of the challenges around Just Transition, but also because of what the country can show in terms of renewable resources that we have and the opportunities to really innovate in that area.”

As part of Scotland’s move towards net-zero emissions, the Scottish Government has put forward the idea of a “Just Transition”.

The goal is to create a more “cohesive and resilient” economy that will improve living standards and well being across Scotland.

As part of the power-sharing agreement in Holyrood, the SNP and Greens will push forward a new independence referendum.

Both the SNP and Scottish Greens are in full support of withdrawing from the UK.

You can read more about what this deal means for Scotland’s future here.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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