GLASGOW has launched an ambitious but credible drive to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city.

With the backing of energy giant Scottish Power, local authorities are planning a dramatic roll-out of electric transport and heating to kickstart a new green industrial revolution on the Clyde.

Their announcement came after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who backs the scheme, officially announced a climate emergency

Her environment secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, on Tuesday said a response to global warning “must be hardwired into our national psyche”.

Scotland has said it will get to net zero carbon by 2045 - meaning it will no longer contribute to climate change. That, say many campaigners, is too late but it is also earlier than many other nations.

Scottish Power said this target could only be met if Glasgow - the biggest city and the country’s engineering powerhouse - led the way.

Glasgow’s scheme - which faces competition from Edinburgh - will see new charging stations for electric cars, soon to rival petrol vehicles on price, announced within weeks.

Major cities across Europe, including Edinburgh, are vying to cash in on renewable technology as the costs of clean power fall and governments set zero carbon deadlines.

Scottish Power Chief Executive Keith Anderson was more upbeat. He said: “Scotland has rightly put itself at the top of the race to become ‘Net Zero’ quicker than other places round the world. To succeed, our biggest city has to be the most ambitious and progressive in removing carbon emissions.

“We have a large supply of renewable energy on our doorstep and one of only two Low Emission Zones in action across the UK. Now, we need to invest in the technologies and programmes that transform the rest of Glasgow’s economy and make us Net Zero before anyone else.

“It is our hope that this declaration kick starts a race to zero with other ambitious cities, like Edinburgh, because then we will all be winners. The prize is the future of our country and our planet.”

Glasgow has already established the first Low Emission Zone outside of London as it aims to tackle its poor record on air quality. It is also home to the UK’s biggest onshore wind farm, Whitelee, which is owned by Scottish Power.

That, Mr Anderson, along with its engineering pedigree, gives it the edge over other British cities.But both Scottish Power and the city council see Glasgow as a perfect test bed for green power because of the challenges it poses, as well as the advantages.

They recognise that densely populated multi-story neighbourhoods are harder for electric car charging. And they admit they want to show they can deliver zero carbon - and the lower prices that brings - to poor places as well as rich ones.

Ms Sturgeon welcomed the announcement, she said: “This month’s report from the Committee on Climate Change underlined the scale of the climate emergency. That is why the Scottish Government moved quickly with changes to our Climate Change Bill to set a net zero target for Scotland by 2045.

“Today’s announcement between Scottish Power and Glasgow City Council – to make Glasgow the UK’s first “net zero” city – is a very welcome step.

“Reaching our goals will need exactly this kind of partnership approach – with Government, business, local authorities and citizens all playing their part.”

Authorities will have to convince people to change their boilers to new technology - such as electric heat pumps to replace gas boilers - and try new kinds of cars, trucks and buses. But their biggest problem will be increasing output.

Mr Anderson added: “We need to generate more power and that power has to be renewable. We need to double production and quadruple renewable production. The cost of that renewable power is coming down every month. We stand ready to invest.”

His concern is the current lack of appetite from the UK Government for onshore wind, despite public support. Scotland will need more windfarms and bigger turbines to get anywhere close to staving off its share of the climate catastrophe.

But Glasgow has a headstart thanks to existing windfarms - and universities with a tracj record in developing this technology.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said one of her priorities was that all Glaswegians got to share in the bounty of cheaper, cleaner power.

She said: “It’s critical that we make sure that quality of life is integral to change and that we take business and civic Scotland with us.

“If we prepare for this properly one of the pillars of our transition will be the creation of new economies and new jobs.”