This was the challenge delivered in Edinburgh this morning by Jonathon Porritt, former director of Friends of the Earth and co-founder of Forum for the Future, who said there was absolutely no scenario in which renewables could succeed without energy efficiency playing a major role.

“The potential success of renewable technologies in meeting the needs of the world over the next 30-40 years will depend on reducing energy demand in the global economy,” Mr Porritt told the Scottish Renewables annual conference. “It really does all depend on getting our energy efficiency right.”

While congratulating the Scottish industry, and government, on its renewable vision and ambitions, he warned that the time for delivering renewable solutions was extremely tight.

“We’re living in a pretty scary world,” he said, “with energy prices permanently high and oil unlikely to fall below $100 a barrel at any point in the future.

In addition, climate change is an issue which doesn’t go away, just because politicians find it difficult. And yet the lion’s share of new investment is still going into hydrocarbon assets. That’s pretty incredible.

“If we continue with investments like that for the next 5-10 years there can be only two possible outcomes. Either we’ll increase greenhouse gases, tripping all the temperature thresholds we’ve been warned about, and end up cooking the planet, or governments will need to pull down the blind on the hydrocarbon industry, a change which would make the 2008 global crisis look like a picnic. ”

Mr Porritt also took time out to ‘rubbish’ the Donald Trump pledge to help ‘save Scotland from making serious wind power mistakes’. Revealing that he’d been invited to be present, but couldn’t attend, when Mr Trump gives evidence to the Scottish parliament, he urged industry leaders to hit the Trump campaign head-on.

He also said he thought Mr Trump needed to learn a bit more about Scotland and its history before voicing his opinions.

Edie Staff

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