It is day 4 of Climate week and today councillors and Fife Council staff met for a lunchtime workshop to learn what Climate Change will mean for Fife and how we can mitigate and adapt in readiness.
Cat Payne delivered her climate presentation again and I was very pleased to see a number of new councillor faces in attendance. Over this week we have had 18 % of Fife’s Councillors visit some of the Council’s great carbon reduction projects and discuss climate issues. It’s been good to hear how positive councillors are in what we need to do to move things forward.
There’s been talk of having a carbon budget, of taking into consideration carbon emissions and climate risks for new projects, of future proofing our housing stock and council buildings, of working more closely with planning and developers, of working in schools to educate our younger generations as well as working more closely with communities to support local initiatives.
There seems to be strong will to ensure life time costs are considered in addition to capital costs. If we do so, we would be able to see the financial benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures, renewable energy and adaptation protection. There has been a lot of great ideas and considerations heard over the week. The trick is to convert those ideas into action!
Moving forward, I feel it’s important all Councillors and Council staff have the opportunity to understand the challenges that we will face in Fife and the magnitude of the risks if we, as a council, are to continue to deliver services as we would like. We need to consider how climate change will affect our infrastructure, housing and land use through rising sea levels and increased risk of flooding, which is particularly important, as Fife has coast line on 3 sides. We need to ensure we have a secure, low carbon energy source that’s affordable for all, so that we can protect our vulnerable citizens from extreme temperature of hot and cold. If we can develop a low carbon economy in Fife, we can enjoy some of the success in California, where the economy is booming thanks to forward thinking and low carbon energy production.
It is difficult to not just live for today as Cllr David Ross said, but we do need to plan for the future and build in protection through mitigation and adaptation methods, so that our children, grandchildren and those generations that come after us are able to enjoy the bounty of what Fife has to offer. We must remember that we only have this planet on loan from our children and we have a duty to care for it until we hand it back to them.
My thoughts today are focussing on the actions, which I feel we need to put in place and which include, as a first step, raising awareness in the Council, at all levels, and in the community as a whole of what lies ahead and the measures that we can take, both individually and collectively, to secure the future.
With best wishes Cllr Ross Vettraino