Andy Kerr is the Executive Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), a national hub for developing and implementing knowledge and ideas to deliver a low carbon society, and a member of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force.
As a country, we seek to maximize our collective wellbeing in a world that is constantly changing. This involves extensive national, regional and local level planning: to exploit opportunities and meet challenges that we know are coming, or enhancing resilience against challenges we cannot foresee. Managing change involves making difficult decisions: about where houses are built, where transport infrastructure is located, and where we source supplies of energy, food and water and dispose of waste.
Some changes are predictable because of large scale economic and demographic drivers: in the economically booming Edinburgh City Region, which ranges from southern Fife to the Lothians and Borders, we are expecting the population to rise by 18% and the numbers of households to grow by some 25% over the next 20 years, including many more over-65 year olds.
Other changes are less predictable: for example, rapid technology developments associated with smart phones and the online revolution – the first iPhone was first unveiled only 8 years ago!
Scotland, like every other major nation, is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to near zero over the next two generations. For us to achieve this goal we need to be planning and building infrastructure for housing, energy, and transport which meets our needs but also reflects these wider national and international goals. And this is where the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force initiative is important.
We want Scotland to have effective systems for moving people and things around the country; and affordable systems for supplying energy and water and removing waste from homes and businesses. But we also want to ensure this infrastructure is long lasting and flexible enough to cope in a world with new technologies, as well as new cultural and social behaviours. Your input is vital to help shape the country we want.
Explore the Task Force's ten transformational projects to shape Scotland's Way Ahead
Find out more about the work of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation