The COVID-19 pandemic unfolded against a backdrop of climate breakdown, and has already cost tens of thousands of people their jobs in Scotland. Unemployment is higher than other UK nations and expected to continue to rise.
It is clear that urgent government intervention is required to boost investment, to create good jobs and set us on a path to a just and green recovery.
The economic recovery must both respond to the climate emergency, as well as tackle the inequalities laid so bare by the unequal impacts of the virus.
A programme of green job creation and climate action can create thousands of good jobs across the country while setting us on the right path to meet our climate targets and deliver a Just Transition away from fossil fuels.
10 steps to a Green Recovery
Friends of the Earth Scotland has identified 10 steps the Scottish Government’s recovery must take to achieve this.
- Kickstart a programme of public green job creation with investment in national green infrastructure projects, including in energy efficiency, sustainable transport and renewable heating.
- Attach strict climate conditions to all recovery funding, to reduce emissions from business and industry in line with Scotland’s climate targets.
- No public money to fossil fuel developments, including the false solutions of Carbon Capture & Storage, and fossil fuel-derived Hydrogen. Instead we must set a timetable for fossil fuel phase out and create a Just Transition plan for affected workers.
- Review government spending and shift budgets away from high carbon polluting projects, e.g. From major road building into improving broadband connections
- Use existing powers to raise revenue for the just and green recovery, for example by implementing a higher rate of Air Departure Tax that can be re-invested into sustainable transport.
- Map the skills Scotland needs for the zero-carbon economy. Help people into funded training programmes and prepare an economy-wide strategy for a just transition away from fossil fuels.
- Expand the scope of the Public Owned Energy Company to allow it to generate renewable energy. Give it a key role in developing renewable heat networks – creating jobs and support local manufacturing and the supply chain. The Company could drive change in the energy market, boosting community energy and prioritising ending fuel poverty over shareholder profit.
- Develop a new Economic Strategy that puts people before profit. Move beyond GDP to broader goals of increased wellbeing, a Just Transition away from fossil fuels and a Circular Economy.
- The Scottish Government must address policy incoherence and inconsistency, beginning with ending the policy of Maximum Economic Recovery of oil and gas.
- Play our part in a global just and green recovery, offer support and solidarity for nations around the world, particularly in the Global South. We must increase the Climate Justice Fund and use the role as COP26 host to encourage increased action from others.
These measures must be implemented as part of an economy wide Just and Green Recovery that also invests in our public services, including the care service and our NHS, that ensures an adequate income for everyone and puts the wellbeing of Scotland’s citizens at the heart of the response.