First Minister Alex Salmond has described Scotland as a future environmental world leader during a lecture delivered in Edinburgh.
The ‘Choosing Scotland’s Future’ talk was given at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, in the ninth of the city's lectures.
Mr Salmond has extensive experience in environmental economics, having been a professional economist in the 1980s.
“If we make the right decisions, we can reach the right future,” said Mr Salmond.
The first minister began the lecture on a humorous note, exclaiming how quickly his empty glass was filled with water by the “dynamic civil servants of Scotland”.
He followed this by explaining how, "the New Year is the best time of the year to look forward," again lightening the mood by commenting on whether or not the mythical two-faced Greek God of New Year, Janus, would be an “appropriate patron of politicians.”
Mr Salmond noted that 2009 included, "the single greatest synchronised economics crisis since the Second World War,” and stated “Scots reacted quickly” to this crisis with effective measures such as accelerating capital spending. The Scottish government had “successfully supported millions of jobs for Scots.”
The Scottish first minister then moved on to 2010, saying there was cause for “cautious optimism”, as he claimed “improvements in credit”, and that “unemployment had risen, but slowly.”
He also suggested that Scotland shouldn’t be “obsessed with comparing its economic status with the UK but with other, more competitive economies”.
Salmond then explained that Scotland was “already within 31 percent of the 2020 target of reducing the UK’s harmful emissions down to 50 percent of its total... [generating] 18 gigawatts, or one million kilowatts, of consented or ‘under construction’ energy production.”
This number equates to roughly three times Scotland’s current consumption, highlighting the importance of recently announced offshore windfarm developments in Scotland’s coastal waters.
Mr Salmond added that Scotland’s best aim was “achieving structures” in which to legislate and make ground on climate change.
The minister finished with the statement: “The past and future is ours.”