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Virtual SHREC conference hailed as most successful to date

By Calum MacLeod

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SHREC keynote speaker Roseanna Cunningham.
SHREC keynote speaker Roseanna Cunningham.

The 12th annual Scottish Highlands Renewable Energy Conference (SHREC) provided cause for optimism that Scotland, and the rest of the world, can start "walking the walk" in taking action on the climate emergency.

The event, hosted by leading law firm Harper Macleod, has been held annually in Inverness since 2010 but while co-host Nicky Marr managed proceedings from a studio in the city, going virtual allowed for an international line-up of speakers and attendees.

SHREC 2021 came just six months before the eyes of the world fall on the country as the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) takes place Glasgow, and speakers represented not just the renewables industry but a wide range of viewpoints - representing Greenpeace International, Scotland's natural capital, investors, countries including Norway and Germany, Scotland's youth and more.

It was fitting that the event took stock of Scotland's current state of play on climate change, and plotted a roadmap to a greener, more sustainable economy.

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Scotland's cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform, delivered the keynote address, in which she set out the Scottish Government's ambitious targets for hitting net zero carbon emissions. While setting out the country's achievements to date, and highlighting the actions contained in the recently updated Climate Change Plan, she made clear that "it must be a truly national endeavour."

She added: "Previous economic transitions and indeed Covid-19 have already shown us how abrupt and unplanned shifts can exacerbate inequalities. Now more than ever we need a just transition that supports sustainable economic growth and jobs while ensuring individuals and communities are not left behind."

Kasey Valente, Legal Co-ordinator at Greenpeace International, summed up the mood of the event, when she told the conference: "We need a vision that recognises that we are at one of the great turning points of human history … It's time for action."

Harper Macleod head of energy and natural resources David Bone.
Harper Macleod head of energy and natural resources David Bone.

Co-host David Bone, Harper Macleod's head of energy and natural resources and one of Scotland's leading renewables lawyers, said: "The pandemic may have stopped us from gathering in Inverness but despite that I believe this was perhaps the most successful Shrec to date. Climate change is the biggest challenge we face and we can say from today that the path to meeting our targets is there – now everyone must work together to make it happen."

Anyone who missed SHREC live can view recordings from the day at www.harpermacleod.co.uk/climate-change/shrec-2021/

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