The audience at the Royal Society of Edinburgh's presentation and debate on Climate Change last night had some very clear views.
Firstly, in stark contrast to the Cassandra's such as Ian Wood and Co, the audience had a great belief that the shift to a low carbon economy was an opportunity for the north east. The overwhelming feeling was that with the assets of our ports, our universities and the engineering expertise, particularly sub-sea, we had a wonderful opportunity to embrace change. That didn't particularly surprise me. Industry seized the opportunity of north sea oil and there is no reason why the renewables, particularly subsea renewables, shouldn't find a natural home here.
Secondly, and this did surprise me, there was strong demand for better public transport. FirstBus came under fire for its high fares in the city - justifiably as a minimum of £1.50 for ajourney is high by any standard. Stagecoach services in the Shire were seen as infrequent and slow.
This is a bit of a chicken and egg issue. With just 6% of journey's by bus and 60-70% by car, it would take a small shift from car to bus to expand bus services greatly. Think about it. If just 1 in 10 car journeys were replaced by bus, then this would double the number of bus journeys. OK - it's not quite that simple but part of the solution is in our own hands.
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