GLASGOW is seeking private investors to help fund a £30 billion plan for green investment in the city as it prepares to host the UN’s crucial climate summit later this year.

Council leaders aim to take advantage of the focus COP26 will bring, in order to seek backing for a range of projects that would transform the face of Scotland’s largest city and turn Glasgow into a global green flagship city.

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Glasgow has created its own “Greenprint for Investment” – a series of projects that respond to the climate emergency – which will be pitched to some of the world’s biggest financiers. 

Having declared a climate emergency in May 2019, Glasgow has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2030. Scotland’s national target for all greenhouse gas emissions is net zero by 2045.

It is estimated that delivering Glasgow’s “Greenprint” projects will require £30bn. 
With the cost of mitigating climate change too steep for any council to bear, Glasgow is seeking the involvement of the private sector. A senior source said: “Private finance will be looking for a return.

“But the appreciation is that it’ll need to be ‘patient capital’, where the return materialises over maybe 50 years instead of 20 for, say, a hotel. Big financiers have also been burned by successive crashes, and cities are increasingly seen as safe bets for long-term investments.”

The two biggest projects will be: building a Glasgow Metro system intended to support the transition to sustainable transport; and the retrofitting of homes across the region to upgrade insulation and utilise clean energy. 

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The retrofit will take an estimated 10 years and cost around £10bn. There are plans to use the River Clyde to provide clean heat for the city centre using renewable energy.

‘Cap’ over M8

THE “Greenprint” also includes a Green M8 Cap – a new, connected urban environment created by constructing a “cap” over the motorway junction at Charing Cross, reprioritising streets for people.

There are also plans to expand the SEC with a shovel-ready project that would see the venue become one of the world’s most energy sustainable.

And the creation of a Clyde Climate Forest features plans to plant 18 million trees across the city over the next decade.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “For Glasgow and the city region, the race to zero is not about a theoretical future or high-minded good intentions about being green for green’s sake.

“It is a race for resilience – for safe communities, good homes, jobs, and a sustainable economy in the face of changes in our climate and environment that are already happening.

“Glasgow must not only consider what it can do as part of a global effort to slow and halt the destructive change in our climate, but how it needs to adapt to cope with the effects that are now unavoidable, or already with us. Both require investment on an unprecedented level – and well beyond anything available to any local authority through established sources.

“Every city will need to make its case for investment – and COP26 gives Glasgow the perfect opportunity to be ahead of the field.” 

Other parts of the “Greenprint” include: 

 A District Heating Network – intended to kickstart a wider city network, with schemes at Polmadie and Gorbals.
 A Climate Neutral Innovation District – Strathclyde University and partners aim to make the existing innovation district carbon neutral by integrating 100 per cent renewable heat, power, transport, climate adaptation and wellbeing solutions.
 A Micro Park Apparel Project – establishing Scotland as a leader in the sustainable design and manufacture of clothing, drastically cutting waste and carbon-intensive global freight.
 An Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District – with ambitions to drive the UK’s low-carbon transition.
 A Green Regeneration and Innovation District -– Clyde Gateway is working to decarbonise travel and energy for homes and businesses in Glasgow’s east end and neighbouring parts of South Lanarkshire.

New ideas

COUNCILLOR Aitken added: “Our ‘Greenprint’ will be Glasgow’s calling card when we’re having these conversations – but it won’t stand still. 

“We have a strong idea of what some of our priorities are and what opportunities already exist in Glasgow, but there’s an awful lot in the world of green investment that is still quite new, so we’ll be open to new ideas.

“Cities are going to have to take the lead in delivering whatever change is agreed by global leaders when they converge on Glasgow this November.

“I hope that change is as substantial as the planet needs it to be.”

The council leader added: “I also hope it tests and challenges us all – and Glasgow will make sure that its pitch and its ambition evolves to match it.”