Scotland faces an urgent need for greener transport – here’s how we can do it
WITH our transport sector responsible for over a third of our carbon emissions, decarbonising this sector is an urgent priority for Scotland.
Much of the technology we need to supercharge our goal of net zero in transport exists here and now – hydrogen and electric trains and ferries, electric cars, vans and bicycles, with Scotland’s first electric plane starting from test flights in Orkney this summer.
There are many exciting advances in this sector powered by renewable electricity and green hydrogen, and we must continue to fund transportation research, development and innovation as we strive to meet our bottom line targets. zero.
In order to do it right and make the most of our abundant natural resources in a sustainable and equitable way, we need a comprehensive plan to create a structure for Scotland to succeed in this area. With this in mind, and the number of significant commitments on transport decarbonization already made by the Scottish Government, I was delighted to support a resolution at the recent SNP conference to establish a national transport company, which the members then approved by an overwhelming majority.
The priority of the NTC must be to ensure that a robust hydrogen charging and refueling infrastructure is in place for all types of new vehicles as well as to support the creation of new qualified green jobs and innovative projects in this area. sector.
A national transport company would own and operate this infrastructure for the public good, setting annual targets and ensuring that all of Scotland has new opportunities to reach net zero.
For this to be successful, Scotland must be able to be self-sufficient in the domestic production of green hydrogen. Building our own electrolysers, storage systems and defining urgent areas for immediate use will not only meet our clean energy needs, but will create opportunities for new workflows to support the economy.
High priority areas for the use of this green hydrogen will include the decarbonization of maritime transport, and we have already seen announcements from our Danish neighbors on the development of carbon-free fuels for their container ships, as well as on the decarbonization of transport. private and public.
Meanwhile, we can already see a huge increase in the sale of electric vehicles, with a number of initiatives led by the Scottish Government to support this change as well as the electrification of our trains and buses. Much remains to be done in this area to promote the shift to carbon-free travel; we only have to look to our Norwegian neighbors to see how their common thinking on incentives for electric vehicles led to their distinction as the first country in the world where electric vehicles sell better than motor cars. traditional combustion.
It is important to note that the timetable set by the Scottish Government dictates that the work of a national transport company must be completed quickly and therefore must be paid for out of public funds to ensure the establishment of a basic service at nationwide.
We often hear the term “Moonshot” to describe large projects that require an even greater imagination of how we approach an urgent problem, mobilizing the public and private sectors to be bold, courageous and innovative.
If there is one area in which we need to combine huge public investments with positive partnerships with private companies, universities, green technologies and the energy industry, it is transport.
We are talking about creating a resilient Scotland in a world where climatologists have warned that the window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic global warming is closing fast. Approaching our transportation emissions under the umbrella of a holistic national enterprise would embody both our economic and social values as a nation while addressing the greatest challenge of our time.