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Park Talk: Climate Conference

18th March 2020

by CNPA Deputy Convener, Geva Blackett

Following on from Convener Xander McDade’s comments on the global climate emergency in recent columns, I would like to continue the conversation as it’s such an important matter – a top priority for the CNPA and indeed us all!

The dictionary definition of the word emergency is ‘a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action’. It’s not the same sort of emergency as a road traffic accident or a fire but the climate emergency does match the dictionary definition in terms of the ‘dangerous situation requiring immediate action’.

Rising temperatures on a global scale pose a danger to wildlife and habitats as well as to people and property. We all need to take immediate action to try to halt the current climate trend.

What people do as individuals will vary but each and every action will count – for example, not everyone can afford an electric vehicle, but we can look at reducing the number of journeys we take, use public transport more and share cars. The Cairngorms National Park Authority is already playing its part and – working with partners and Scottish Government – we are ready to do more.

Speaking at our Cairngorms Climate Conference held in Aviemore last week, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham praised our efforts and vision to achieve net zero by 2045.

The Scottish Government has committed to becoming net zero five years earlier than the rest of the UK – and if nature-based solutions are going to be a key element in the arsenal of weapons tackling the climate emergency – then the Cairngorms National Park is ideally placed to deliver. After all, the Park covers six per cent of Scotland so we’re looking at landscape scale projects.

Over 180 delegates attended the conference with the morning given over to listening to the experts, including Chris Stark, CEO of the Climate Committee and Dr Mike Rivington from ClimateXChange and Dr Alison Hester from the James Hutton Institute who we worked with on the ‘Snow Cover and Climate Change in the Cairngorms National Park’ study.

There was a real buzz in the room, especially when the afternoon workshops got underway. They were based around the following themes: changes in land use; helping the Cairngorms to mitigate and adapt to climate change; communities and business; transport and active travel. The ideas and knowledge shared in these workshops was inspiring and I am very excited to see how some of the ideas can be developed and implemented going forward.

Conference delegates have definitely contributed to a clear direction for the coming months and years and for our next National Park Partnership Plan (2022-2027) where we’ll demonstrate our commitment to achieving net zero by 2045. If you want to learn more about the conference and view the presentations from the experts please visit the CNPA website