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Sustainability features in Scotland’s draft constitution proposals

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The first draft constitution of an independent Scotland has been published, ahead of September’s referendum, with sustainability and the environment featuring in the bill. 

The bill sets out that the people are sovereign – rather than parliament – as is the case in the UK. The Scottish National party argues that a written constitution would offer better protection for the public than the UK’s unwritten constitution. The UK is the only country in the EU and Commonwealth that does not have a written constitution.

In a keynote speech, deputy first minister Nicole Sturgeon said, “The key constitutional and practical point here is that with independent the Scottish parliament can deliver economic policy tailored to our needs and designed to take advantage of our great wealth. We will be able to retain the proceeds of growth in our economy in the form of increased tax revenues.

“With independence, Scotland will be a national economy with all the tools of other independent states. Independence as our constitutional future puts the practical responsibility in our own hands.”

The proposal states that “every person is entitled to live in a healthy environment” and that the government must seek to protect and enhance the quality of the environment. It adds that the government must in particular work to promote the “conservation of biodiversity” and “measures to tackle climate change”.

The constitution also declares that natural resources are to be used in a manner that is “sustainable” and benefit the people of Scotland, through economic, social or environmental impacts.

Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, commented, “[The bill] goes beyond existing duties to protect nature and deliver on climate change targets. The proposal to enshrine the right to a clean environment in the constitution is a huge step forward.

“A written constitution enshrining the importance of the environment is probably the single most powerful arguments in favour of the yes vote. Those opposed to the independence need to show us how they would deliver something as powerful if Scotland stays in the UK.”

On September 18, Scots will go to the poll and vote on whether to become an independent country or remain part of the UK. June’s ‘poll of polls’ suggests that voters will back the union although the gap between the two sides is narrowing.

The constitution also sets out plans to remove nuclear weapons and keep the Queen as head of state.

Photo: Scottish Government via Flickr  

Further reading:

JK Rowling donates £1m to Scottish pro-UK campaign

100 days until Scottish referendum: ‘poll of polls’ suggests voters will back union

Oil firms divided on possible impact of Scottish referendum

Contrasting reports on cost of Scottish independence

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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