Council ‘does not have the resources’ to respond to climate change quickly

The SIC “does not have the resources to respond to the climate change emergency at the speed people want us to”.

This was the message from ZetTrans lead officer Michael Craigie at a Thursday morning meeting of the transport partnership, and it comes less than a week after more than 100 protesters took to Lerwick’s Market Cross to demand faster action from the council on climate change.

The group gather at the Market Cross in Lerwick. Photo: John Coutts

His comments came as part of a discussion on how the council could cut its carbon emissions, with ferries and buses accounting for the bulk of the council’s emissions, and with councillor Davie Sandison admitting that “fuel consumption is a massive issue for us”.

Mr Sandison said that he would like to see the council “choose one specific aim” to target for a start in cutting emissions, such as purchasing one electric bus.

But the cost of green ferries and buses are “far beyond what the council can pick up,” Mr Craigie said.

He agreed that with climate conversations “now front and centre”, the council needed to find a way to “align ourselves” with delivering against that.

Transport policy and projects officer Robina Barton said that it was “really heartening” to hear the council hold discussions about what they could do to tackle the climate change emergency.

“We’re not just paying it lip service.

“We are talking seriously about change.”

ZetTrans chairman Ryan Thomson said that it was an “incredibly tricky subject” – particularly at a time when they were trying to balance additional sailings on inter-island ferries with “the environmental impact that would have”.

But on the subject of purchasing green ferries and buses, Mr Thomson was unequivocal on how they would be funded: “We need government assistance”.

Climate protesters in Lerwick last week demanded that the SIC put in place a plan for tackling carbon emissions and declared a climate emergency, with organiser Elliot Tait saying that the climate emergency “should be higher up” on the council’s agenda.


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • September 26th, 2019 22:01

    The British government has, unilaterally, done exactly as the IPCC’s 2018 report recommended.

    Its “net zero 2050” target is now UK law.

    The Scottish government has exceeded even that, going for “net zero 2045”.

    The necessary actions by councillors and the rest of us will follow from that, automatically.

    The SIC is bound to meet legal/regulatory targets. Targets which will exceed IPCC climate requirements.

    There is no call to exceed that, yet again.

    Nor is there any need for councillors to jump about as if infested with soldier ants, just because 100 good people have been conned by the Green Party’s ‘Senna the Soothsayer’ rhetoric into turning up at the Market Cross protest.

    Only the Green Party and Heathrow drone terrorists Extinction Rebellion want more than has already been done.

    It is a publicity stunt to win support, using non-scientific, doomsday rhetoric.

    Thank goodness somebody in SIC, namely, Mr Craigie, has a corn o wit.

  • Peter Long

    • September 27th, 2019 17:17

    The SIC could commission a sail boat to ply between Lerwick and Aberdeen, charging the same fare as the regular steamer. They would then be providing a low carbon alternative and those who are true climate emergency aficionados could be counted against those who expect others to change their lifestyle instead of themselves. Personally, I’d love to be on the maiden voyage, it would be a delight!

  • ian tinkler

    • October 9th, 2019 17:27

    Never have I seen such collective madness or mass manipulation of people as I am seeing now. Meanwhile, the very real problem of overpopulation is being completely ignored.
    How about mandatory castration to all those who disrupt the freedom of movement of others.
    Extinction Rebellion, I only agree with the extinction bit but there again I agree with Human rights, like the right to get to work, go to a hospital, lead a normal life et al without the glorious unwashed lieing in the road being pretendy greens.

    • Peter Hamilton

      • October 9th, 2019 19:55

      Mandatory castration of political opponents could cut both ways…

      On overpopulation, fertility rates are generally higher in poorer countries and lower in developed ones, so global inequality is a big issue.

      Addressing inequality is worthwhile for many reasons, but within the context of climate change, let’s remember the affluent consume more resources per head, so consumption rates in more developed economies need to be addressed too.

      Sadly, ignorance is also a global phenomenon, and, as is seen time and again, can lead people to seek simple solutions to complex problems. The ignorant can be easily manipulated by populists. So it is that ignorance threatens the international cooperation that is needed to address global problems.

      Open societies tolerate different opinions, and, in doing so, they help limit ignorance. Ian’s love of intolerant responses and simple solutions is telling and concerning. Maybe hitchhiking down to London and doing some yoga on a bridge would help. Here is an uplifting little number from his youth to help keep his pecker up on the road.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • October 10th, 2019 8:06

    I was a student in London when 1,353,000 deaths occurred in North and South Vietnam. I protested alongside, Dylon and Baez, with tens of thousands of others over that war. Most were peaceful, never with the intent of ruining the normal lives of others. Sadly, Extinction Rebellion set out with one intent, that is to do exactly that for weeks on end! Extinction Rebellion has little to do with climate change, and it is a political protest nothing more. Orwell’s sheep at large all set up by the ignorant and extream.


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