Embracing the spirit of COP26

On Sunday, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties – known as COP26 – will start in Glasgow.

More than 100 world leaders will attend the two-week event to hopefully agree action to limit global warming and head off impacts like extreme weather and continuing loss of habitat, killers around the globe.

If by 2050 (at the latest) we are removing more greenhouse gas from the atmosphere than we are producing, we have a chance – and COP26 will be looking to countries to strengthen that “net zero” commitment.

That commitment must involve local government, businesses and communities too.

In Aberdeen we are proud to be leading the UK’s transition to renewable energy, sharing know-how around leadership and partnership working as well as technical skills first developed in the North Sea. 

From building an energy-from-waste plant to investing in an offshore wind turbine test centre to enshrining green living in our council house building programme, we are playing a pivotal role at a national as well as local level.

We have just announced bp as our preferred bidder and commercial partner for a world-class hydrogen hub.

The joint venture will see the energy giant incorporate solar power, green hydrogen production and hydrogen refuelling stations for transport.

Priorities include exploring the opportunity for decarbonising the City’s District Heat Network, already a model of efficiency, and we remain committed to a net zero carbon ambition by 2045 for our public buildings and council housing.

The council has been at the forefront of demonstrating and creating a market for hydrogen and as we enter this next phase, economic benefits will be coupled with environmental ones.

Future hub phases could see production scaled up through further investment to supply larger volumes of hydrogen for rail, freight and marine, as well as supply of hydrogen for heat and potentially export. That will support supply chain development, promote training, anchor talent and yield new jobs – an estimated 700 directly related to the hub in the years ahead.

We embarked on our hydrogen journey more than 10 years ago and have already used the zero emission fuel to power a fleet of 25 buses, 70 public sector vehicles and waste trucks, as well as the P&J Live events complex.

Our City Region Deal has delivered the Net Zero Technology Centre which, since its launch a few years ago, has had 268 industry projects approved and co-invested £163 million with industry.

Aberdeen is truly a global city, acting in the best interests of the planet as well as our own economy and immediate environment.

That is the spirit in which COP26 must be conducted and we are proud to be showing the way.