The true cost of decarbonising rural spaces: challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. 

Convener: Dr Megan Palmer-Abbs 

Session 1: The true cost of decarbonising rural spaces: challenges and opportunities of the 21st century 

To keep adverse effects of climate change to manageable levels science has clearly identified that atmospheric levels of CO2 must stay below preindustrial levels if we are to achieve global warming temperatures of no more than 1.50C. The UN net zero mission and associated Paris Agreement state that in order to achieve this target, CO2 emissions must fall by 45% by 2030 and we must be net zero by 2050. Currently we are at 1.10C and further needs to be done internationally, nationally and locally if we are to achieve these targets. National policies and associated interventions make slow or limited progress in many of the key areas targeted to mitigate climate change related impacts. For example, construction/retrofitting, transport, energy provision and the wider aspects of life which are affected by these industries e.g., housing, food production, service provision. Global and national reorientation(s) as a result of recent political and fiscal activities is ‘squeezing’ our economy and therefore the ability to invest in society as a whole. Rural spaces and those who work and live ‘in the rural’ feel a particular set of issues in this respect. The ability to ‘decarbonise’ is full of challenges and effects everything about our daily lives, from the way we house ourselves, to suitably heating these spaces, the quality and quantity of affordable food, transportation choices and beyond. Many reoccurring themes are emerging, such as poor services, land rights, and accessibility issues. 

This session calls for multidisciplinary submissions which narrate these changes ‘In the rural’, what are the constraints, opportunities and lived experiences of those involved with ‘the decarbonisation of rural spaces’. 

Paper 1: “Levelized cost of electric waterborne motors implementation for decarbonizing nautical small fleet in the Colombian Amazon Region” 

*Mauricio Hernández2 (, Diana Trujillo3 (, Gordon Wilmsmeier1 ( 

1, 2, 3Kühne Chair of Logistics, Nexus-Energy-Mobility Group, School of Management, Universidad de los Andes 


Paper 2 

Title: Exploring Horizontal Policy Coherence for Land Use Transformations in Scotland 

Authors: Kirsty Blackstock[1], Jean Boucher1, James Glendinning[2], Alexa Green2, Alba Juarez-Bourke1, Stan Martinat1, Keith Matthews1, Ian Merrell2, *Hebe Nicholson1, Steven Thompson2 


[1] The James Hutton Institute 

[2] Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) 

Paper 3 

Title: Tackling big societal issues and complexity: New ways of doing and thinking. 

Presenter: Megan Palmer-Abbs (in collaboration with RGRG committee) 


Followed by Discussion/QA 

Session 2: Innovation Café: Co creating adaptation to climate change in, for, and with rural spaces building on session 1: The true cost of decarbonising rural spaces: challenges and opportunities of the 21st century 

This session participatory innovation café will follow immediately after session 1. 

Using a Design Thinking Approach (SDA) we will discuss, debate and map the new futures for rural geography. Using SDA methods and tools we will co create views on current issues (understanding) in rural spaces, seek to identity future challenges, opportunities and perspectives of what ‘rural spaces’ may look like in the future (exploring). Finally, we will co create potential transition pathways (visioning) in how this could be achieved and what the role of research is in supporting these transitions. This session will focus not only on paradigm shifts or these rural spaces but also paradigm shifts for researchers and the role of other key actors in creating these new spaces.