The forecast was made by research, development and advice consultancy Archial Sustainable Futures following the publication by Finance Secretary John Swinney of a Carbon Assessment of the Budget for 2010-2011 - making the Scottish Government the first administration in the world to produce a carbon assessment alongside its budget - which, according to John Easton, head of Archial Sustainable Futures, effectively makes carbon a currency for the first time anywhere in the world.
The Carbon Assessment, based on the expenditure data presented in the budget and a statutory requirement of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, provides an understanding of the impact of Scottish Budget expenditure on global greenhouse gas emissions as well as the carbon impact of Government spend.
Easton said, The macroeconomic study undertaken for the Scottish Government shows Scotland's public sector organisations their budgets for the year ahead in both sterling and carbon.
Whilst this year this revolutionary Carbon Assessment has been a soft exercise to which public sector organisations will not be held accountable, the likelihood is that in subsequent year's budgets they will be held accountable to the Carbon Assessment figures. This implies that, perhaps from as early as 2011/12, budget holders for Scottish Government funds will be permitted to spend up to their allocations in Pounds Sterling or Tonnes Carbon, for whichever limit they reach first.
The implications of this measure have yet to be examined in detail yet I am certain that this measure will radically change how we procure and operate buildings in Scotland. It is my belief, too, that in five years the carbon credit will replace the dollar as the currency of international trading.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act: introduces a statutory target to reduce Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050; establishes an interim target of at least 42 per cent emissions reductions by 2020; establishes a framework of annual targets and includes emissions from international aviation and international shipping.
Easton said, The Climate Change Scotland Act makes Scotland the only country in the world to make our commitment to the Kyoto Protocol legally binding. That means that any recipient of government funds - up to and including First Minister Alex Salmond - is legally obliged to meet that target and is subject to possible prosecution if they fail to do so.
Easton is a Carbon Consultant accredited by The Carbon Trust to provide Low Carbon Buildings Design Advice and is a member of the Carbon Trust's Consultant Pool in Scotland for Public Procurement. (Courtesy:Allmediascotland.com)