Gas central heating systems could be banned in Edinburgh in just ten years’ time if the Capital is to meet an ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030, politicians have warned.
Last month, the city council approved an ambitious target to become net zero carbon by 2030 with the promise becoming binding by 2037. Councillors have now agreed to set up a climate emergency partnership to ensure the entire Capital can take responsibility for reducing its carbon footprint.
Carbon neutral means all carbon emissions are either stopped or offset. Council leader Cllr Adam McVey said it will take “an inordinate amount of effort and work” to succeed.
He added: “We have set one of the most ambitious climate change targets of any city anywhere in the world. We are
aiming to become a net-zero city by 2030 – that’s going to be an enormous challenge.
“I’m quite clear that the future of gas in this city as the primary way we heat our homes will have to change significantly if we are to meet this obligation.”
No alternatives have been touted by council chiefs to potentially replace burning gas to heat homes – but Passivhaus, ground source heating and district heating could all be considered.
Councillors heard from climate emergency activists, who warned that time is running out to make the drastic changes required to avert irreversible change to the environment.
14-year-old Esther Silverton, a Scottish youth climate striker, told councillors that “we need to act now and time is running out”. She added: “We’ve taken over 30 years to wake up to this climate crisis that we’ve created. Now we are acting like rabbits caught in the headlights.
“We have to make drastic change now or we are all guilty of the biggest mass murder in history.”
Natalie Taylor from Extinction Rebellion told councillors the world is “in dire need of a radical approach”.
She added: “Positive action to reduce our carbon footprint and other greenhouse gas emissions needs to be prioritised across all sectors.”
But Conservative Cllr Cameron Rose was called out by Ms Taylor after he claimed: “I’m one of the people along with many well-qualified scientists who have come to the conclusion that the apocalyptic, doomsday predictions are not currently born out by the science.”
She responded, saying: “The IPCC report, supported by over 100 scientists across the world, has suggested that we are in mortal danger.
“The question about the science is over, I’m afraid – we really don’t need to be talking about this anymore. Climate deniers and now becoming very few and far between.”
Green environment spokesperson, Cllr Steve Burgess, who tabled the motion calling for a partnership to be set up, said the council had a responsibility to “get the ball rolling immediately on the climate emergency”.