Highland Climate Conference ramped up climate conversation ahead of COP26

Highland Climate Change Conference
The River Spey at Grantown on Spey

The Chair of Highland Council’s Climate Change Working Group has described this week’s two-day Highland Climate Change Conference as a timely conversation about the climate and ecological emergency ahead of the COP26 in Glasgow next month.

COP26 is the world’s most significant summit on climate change. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and the summit will be attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994.

Chair of the Highland Council Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson commented: “The Highland Climate Conference has provided a lot of information on what is happening and how we should proceed.

“The workshops were well-attended, and ideas and actions fully discussed. As we draw near to COP26 in Glasgow this conference has been an ideal opportunity to get everyone thinking about outcomes and the way forward.”

The two-day conference featured speakers from across the sectors and included keynote speeches from UK and Scottish Government, including Drew Hendry MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Scottish Green Party MSP Arianne Burgess, Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan MSP and the Minister for Just Transition Richard Lochhead MSP.

The conference was opened by Highland Council Leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, who underlined the local authority’s commitment to tackle the environmental and ecological emergency.

The conference focused on four themes: Energy, Land and Sea, Net Zero and Resilient Communities and each day was followed by a set of workshops to delve even deeper into discussion on the climate emergency and how we can move forward.

The ‘Energy’ section explored emerging technologies which will help the energy industry reach net zero in Highland. Attendees heard about developments in green hydrogen, SSE Renewables, energy efficient school initiatives and much more.

The ‘Land and Sea’ section took a closer look at how our lands and sea can help to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. The talks focused on The Flow Country World, the Highland Good Food Partnership, rewilding projects and others.

The ‘Net Zero’ inputs examined what net zero actually means and explored how we can achieve it within Highlands. Those who joined listened to speakers talk about The Highland Council’s journey to net zero, financing net zero and a Just Transition.

And finally, the ‘Resilient Communities’ section heard from community groups and organisations already taking action to tackle the climate emergency, such as representatives from The Rose Project, Thurso Community Development Trust and others.

The entire conference will be available on the Highland Council’s dedicated Highland Climate Change Conference webpage and YouTube channel very soon.

22 Oct 2021