Al Gore champions Scotland’s energy ambitions

Global climate change campaigner and former US vice president Al Gore took the Scottish renewables business community by storm today, declaring his admiration for the country's drive and commitment to the industry.

Speaking at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in Edinburgh, he praised Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, for his enthusiasm and leadership in support of the renewable energy sector.

In return, the first minister led a standing ovation at the completion of the former-VP’s 60-minute presentation of climate change evidence of rising floods, ever more severe periods of drought and wildfires, with both the immediate and long-term consequences of such effects being graphically displayed.

What conference delegates liked most, however, was the view he gave of Scotland’s place in the world of renewable solutions.

“You have unique renewable energy opportunities,” he said. “That includes an incredible share of the world’s offshore wind resources and globally significant wave and tidal energy.

“You have enormous potential you also have a rich engineering tradition, an educated and skilled workforce and essential centres of capital to turn your tradition and history into modern reality.”

He also acknowledged, however, the current state of the global economy had created a ‘time of apprehension’, adding that the next five years would be a challenging, transitional period for all to embrace.

“Hope is on the horizon, however, and you are exploiting the potential which exists here in Scotland to good effect.

“Jobs are going to be especially important in this process, of course, and you are going to see the creation of lots and lots of jobs.”

Scotland’s efforts to harness wave and tidal power drew special mention.

“Although developments in this sector remain at an early stage, let me tell you that the whole world is rooting for you.”

And then finally: “If others follow Scotland’s lead on renewable energy then we have a bright future ahead. My belief is that Scotland is providing leadership on this issue as few others are.

“Your business and investment community saw the future and, as a result, are becoming part of the answer to global concerns. People will draw inspiration from the Scottish example.

“Frankly, we already have everything we need around the world to address climate change and renewable energy issues.

“All that is lacking in many areas is the political will to carry those solutions through.

“In that context, of course, it’s important to remember that political will is itself a renewable resource.”

Colin Ley

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