One month ahead of COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, this year’s host city Glasgow has unveiled plans for £30bn of investments via a ‘Greenprint for Investment’.
“The success of COP26 will be measured by how cities can take the practical steps necessary to secure the future of our planet,” said Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council.
The Greenprint for Investment aims to unlock substantial private investment to help Glasgow meet its climate financing needs while stimulating economic activity by creating new jobs and business opportunities.
“Glasgow is ready to meet the challenges of the climate emergency head-on,” said Councillor Aitken, who also noted that “transition has to be about the social and economic well-being of Glasgow and its people.”
It’s clear that this will require substantial levels of investment – so often the elephant in the room on climate debates – which is why Councillor Aitken says the ‘greenprint’ offers “investable and shovel-ready projects”.
And why invest in Glasgow? Besides its status as this year’s host city for the COP, Glasgow has already reduced its carbon emissions by 41% on 2006 levels and is committed to the green journey.
Clyde Climate Forest: Planting 18 million trees in the Glasgow City Region over the next decade, equivalent to 17,000 football fields of new woodlands, will increase forest and woodland cover by 3% and significantly increase the extent of atmospheric carbon sequestration through tree growth in the region.
Glasgow City Region Home Energy Retrofit Programme: A ten-year £10 billion programme to upgrade the insulation of all homes in the Glasgow City Region to achieve net zero carbon emissions give greater energy security, lower household energy bills, warmer homes and better health outcomes through reduced fuel poverty. The project explores the use of innovative renewable technologies to deliver clean energy.
Glasgow’s District Heating Network: Glasgow wants to transform its energy production and consumption, scaling up the achievements of the £154 million Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre to kick-start a wider district heating network. Two key projects in Polmadie and Gorbals Districts will act as testbeds to harness the power of the River Clyde for the city’s heat demands is underway.
Climate Neutral Innovation District: The University of Strathclyde is leading an innovative and ambitious project to make the Glasgow City Innovation District 100% climate neutral and climate resilient. The collaboration will integrate 100% renewable heat, power, transport, climate adaptation and wellbeing solutions.
Charing Cross M8 Green Infrastructure Cap: By capping a portion of the M8 motorway that runs through Glasgow, the city to re-green a central area of the city, whilst reprioritising the area for people, rather than cars.
Glasgow Metro: With a focus on better connecting Glasgow and the wider City Region, encompassing a population of 1.8 million, the investments here will focus on providing accessible and affordable connectivity for a wider skilled labour workforce, businesses and visitors, as well as supporting a transition to more sustainable forms of transport.
Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland: Scotland’s new home of advanced manufacturing has ambitions to drive the UK’s wider low carbon transition.
Micro Park Apparel Project: The micro Park will aim to create a new location for fashion production in the UK, embedding circularity across all areas of activity including resource use, textile and fibre reuse and packaging. Benefiting from Scotland’s high percentage of renewable energy supply, it will use 100% renewable energy, generate no liquid waste and have no negative environmental impacts.
Scottish Event Campus Expansion: With plans to become climate neutral by 2035, the campus wants to become one of the world’s most sustainable event venues.
Green Regeneration and Innovation District: As Scotland’s first Green Regeneration and Innovation District, Clyde Gateway is working to decarbonise travel and energy for homes and businesses while providing the local community with a place to live and work in low carbon and resilient neighbourhood.
Cities at COP26
Achieving global ambitions to limit global warming will require substantial investment. The UK Core Cities and London have estimated that for these 10 cities alone that sum could be around £200bn, given that the costs of restructuring the very systems our cities depend on, from energy to food, housing to mobility, and, of course, finance, will be substantial.
Find out more about Glasgow’s story here:
Glasgow is part of the Mayors Alliance for the European green Deal, which strives to show that a sustainable transition is possible, with mayors and cities on board. More here.