Climate change project officer call

Sunset over the sea by Fraser Sneddon of Lochaber High School.

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The time has come to invest in a project officer to speed up Argyll and Bute’s efforts to fight climate change, an environmental expert has warned.

Stan Phillips gave the stark warning to community chiefs after the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report saying climate change was worse than predicted.

Mr Phillips is chairman of a short life working group set up by Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership (CPP), which held a virtual meeting on Wednesday  March 16.

Alok Sharma, the UK president of the UN climate talks, was among those who urged faster action when the report was published.

Mr Phillips, who works for NatureScot and lives in Lochgilphead, now hopes to find funding to invest in a project officer post.

He told the meeting: ‘On February 28, a report came out stating that in terms of climate change, things are way worse than we thought.

‘I was pretty sure that report would have occupied headlines over the past couple of weeks, but because of the conflict in Ukraine, it has not had much of a look-in.

‘So the message is we need to go much further and faster on climate change action. We have spent the last couple of months working with other parties to see how they work.

‘It is clear we need to employ at least one person as project officer to work up plans for climate change engagement in Argyll and Bute.

‘We assume it costs £60,000 to set up one post for one year, and that is a lot of money to find, so we have started looking for funds already.’

Mr Phillips added: ‘This affects the council, its roads and infrastructure and will affect health and welfare, due to many issues, not least fuel price rises.

‘Every group in Argyll and Bute is going to have to consider how they will transform themselves into a carbon neutral business.

‘It is a task for all of us and I am formally asking us all to go and find finance to take this project forward. I said it was coming and this is the day.’

Joe McKay, chairman of the CPP, who works for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, replied: ‘I can help you out with some funding if we speak off the table.

‘I am not promising a large amount but I can help you out if we were quick. There is also a plan in place for electric charging points at all of my stations.’