Finding solutions and collaborating will help us reach net-zero carbon goals

We are witnessing dramatic changes in weather patterns that have impacted on cities and farming communities around the world. In some places, water scarcity is a massive issue while perversely, floods and tsunamis can have a huge effect not just on developed cities, but on developing nations across the world.

The consensus at yesterday’s Scotland’s Countdown to COP26 virtual conference was that by accelerating the journey towards carbon reduction and by helping oil and gas majors increase the portfolio mix that they have between traditional carbon energy sources we can increase that mix between traditional carbon energy sources and urgently expedite their journey into energy transition for renewable sources.

This was underlined by Darren Martin, chief technical officer of environment and clean energy solution, Wood. “Technology has revolutionised revolutionise the world we live in today, influencing every aspect of society and connecting our lives and sustainable innovation and technology will be a key driver in enabling energy transition and delivering the sustainable development agenda,” he said.

Energy, of course, is ineluctably connected with two other basics of daily life: building and heating our homes and ensuring that we can get around (while accepting that we should all be walking and cycling more).

Emma Church, innovation manager at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre hosted the discussion of the “80% challenge” facing Scotland’s built environment. Energy. sustainability consultant Peter Rickaby highlighted a major challenge: “We are aiming for net zero carbon by 2045. That means all homes have to become net zero carbon in 25 years, even though 80% of our existing homes will still be standing in 2014. That means every home in Scotland must be retrofitted or replaced.

“That’s not something that is affordable without subsidy. Most households and landlords in Scotland are not really aware of the scale of the challenge and are not very well motivated.”

In transport, electric vehicles (EVs) are currently the great way forward. Nilofer Christensen, chief operating officer of Chargetrip is at the forefront of the technology and tackled the recurring problem of range anxiety. “How do I charge and how long will it take me? How do I pay and what’s the range of my battery?

“The way to get away from this is to provide solutions that make it really easy for consumers to transition from very traditional mobility to electric mobility. And it’s up to us to bring the data together to bring people together to accelerate the adoption of electric cars and get to get to net zero faster. And again, she added: “I think collaboration is really the way to go.”