The Law School contributes to a Scottish Government project on Islands’ Carbon Neutrality

Since September 2021 Prof Sindico has been seconded for four days a week to work in the Scottish Government where he is the Carbon Neutral Islands (CNI) project lead. The project is intended to support six islands in Scotland to become carbon neutral by 2040. 

On 14 June 2023 Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Islands and Land Reform, Ms Mairi Gougeon, launched the Carbon Neutral Islands (CNI) project Community Climate Change Action Plans at an event on Great Cumbrae, as detailed in this news item on the Scottish Government website. The Climate Change Action Plans can also be found on the Community Energy Scotland website, along with some information about the project.   

The community climate change action plans are living documents that capture how the island community conceives its own carbon neutrality journey by providing a tangible list of priorities and actions. Whilst the Carbon Neutral Islands Project is not strictly legal, it is framed around island specific legislation and climate change targets and is very much an example of net zero policy in practice, albeit at a small geographical and community scale. The project has highlighted the challenges of collating data and using methodologies to calculate land-based emissions (for example, in relation to peatland). Blue carbon has also been an emerging area that deserves further attention. Finally, it has shown that only by truly developing a professional structure that goes beyond unpaid volunteers can there be genuine community buy in for carbon neutrality. 

Prof Sindico looks forward to gradually start sharing the Scottish Government Carbon Neutral Islands project experience with colleagues and students at the Law School and in other departments at the University!