We can’t keep building our climate toward catastrophe

Written by Brienne McKinney, CNN If you’ve heard the global temperature going up, then you’ve probably also heard the climate change alarmist slogan, “We can do this.” “We can” might be a corollary to…

We can't keep building our climate toward catastrophe

Written by Brienne McKinney, CNN

If you’ve heard the global temperature going up, then you’ve probably also heard the climate change alarmist slogan, “We can do this.”

“We can” might be a corollary to “We can build a more prosperous world.”

But in reality, we can’t build a richer world, one which might keep temperatures on a path to catastrophic climate change, without doing far more than we’re currently doing. We can’t hold back; we can’t save the world at our current rate of activity.

We can only save the world with an effective change of pace, a shift away from energy-intensive heating and cooling and towards improved insulation and renewables.

The data tells us the world needs far more of this. It’s not enough just to keep increasing carbon dioxide emissions; we need to burn far less to keep the climate stable.

We need to get on with making the transition now.

The challenge is not just to deliver a bigger investment in renewable energy and renewable-powered homes, but to do it in the way that creates jobs and opportunities across the economy, where everyone has a stake.

Glasgow’s approach

We are about to put some of these solutions into action in Glasgow.

We are aiming to invest £500 million ($646 million) over 10 years to cut emissions and rebuild the city.

Global warming poses a threat to one of Glasgow’s greatest assets – its future.

A new platform will be set up next month for the UK and international community to aim for “50% or less” carbon emissions in buildings by 2030.

We are also investing in 100% renewable electricity generation for 15,000 households and 1,000 businesses; and fast-track new technologies to make tens of thousands of new homes more energy efficient.

We are also investing in new public transport systems, including 25 new cycle-sharing schemes in the coming years.

To address climate change the way we’ve always done it now requires a radical change of gear. Instead of burning more of the fossil fuels we already have, we must rely on cleaner, greener sources.

What a big challenge, right?

But what’s the genius of this challenge?

Scotland is right at the heart of a region with more than three million people living in the twin advantages of huge natural resources, famous as a great sport and culture center. It’s an opportunity to change the way we think of energy and construction projects as “great social projects” that benefit whole regions.

Instead of creating grand new streets and pavements, as we currently do, Glasgow’s new City Renewal plans may reverse our current focus on car-dominated development and use new technology to create green, walkable streets that match Scotland’s famous summers and also its winters.

Likewise, we’re investing in electrification instead of pipelines to move heat to remote areas of Scotland’s coast.

Glasgow’s scientists and architects are developing methods to make buildings 10 times more energy efficient. They’re working on ways to capture the waste heat generated by homes and factories, and letting the power keep flowing back into the grid.

The future is in roads, railways and waterways that will allow us to transport around our increasing numbers of people. We need low-emission light-rail systems, so that we’re not just talking about electrifying city centers, but making big improvements to existing capacity.

Glasgow needs to prove to everyone that our approach to climate change is both visionary and innovative.

The world is depending on us to do it.

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