Environmental campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to put the creation of good green jobs at the heart of their Programme for Government this week.

The twin crises of the climate emergency and economic impacts of covid-19 demand urgent Government intervention that tackles both issues head on.

Friends of the Earth Scotland have proposed a ten-point programme of activity to the Scottish Government that would help create tens of thousands of good green jobs while building a fairer society. Highlights of the plan include:

  • Kickstart a programme of public green job creation with investment in national green infrastructure projects, including in energy efficiency, sustainable transport and renewable heating.
  • No public money for fossil fuel developments (including Carbon Capture and Storage, and fossil-derived hydrogen)
  • Map the skills needed for the zero-carbon economy and begin funded, targeted training programmes to address the gaps
  • Shift government spending away from polluting projects – e.g. money away from roads expansion projects into broadband connectivity

Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon commented,

“The employment and economic crisis caused by coronavirus is worsening every day so both the Scottish and UK Governments must bring forward concrete plans for how they will create the good green jobs needed by both people and the planet. A Green Jobs Recovery Plan could create thousands of jobs ensuring everyone has warm homes, safe routes for walking and cycling and clean, reliable public transport.

“The Programme for Government is the first major opportunity for the Government to spell out how they will boost investment, create green jobs and set us a path to a just and green recovery.

“We see the worsening impacts of climate breakdown from fires in California to landslips in Scotland – there is no time to waste in creating the climate jobs that will help us exit this recession, reduce emissions and build a fairer economy.

“Scotland must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that none of the recovery money goes to new fossil fuel developments or high carbon projects that will worsen the climate emergency. Politicians cannot be seduced by the false solutions and false promises of the fossil fuel industry who are demanding public money for high risk technologies like Carbon Capture or fossil-fuelled hydrogen.

“By mapping out the skills needed for a zero carbon economy and then providing those training opportunities we can give people the skills they need to flourish as we move beyond fossil fuels. A Just and Green Recovery will invest in our public services, including the care service and our NHS, ensure an adequate income for everyone and put the wellbeing of Scotland’s citizens at the heart of our plans.”

“The Scottish Government could and should be doing much more to protect jobs like those under threat at bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis in Falkirk, to ensure the benefits of green jobs are felt throughout a Scottish supply chain and the nearby communities.“

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS

The Scottish Government is expected to announce its Programme for Government in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 1st September.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s 10 point plan summary:

  1. Kickstart a programme of public green job creation with investment in national green infrastructure projects, including in energy efficiency, sustainable transport and renewable heating.
  2. Attach strict climate conditions to all recovery funding, to reduce emissions from business and industry in line with Scotland’s climate targets.
  3. Commit to giving 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.
  4. Review government spending and shift budgets away from high carbon polluting projects, e.g. road expansions should be halted, with funding diverted into digital connectivity or public transport
  5. Use existing powers to raise revenue for the just and green recovery, e.g.by implementing a higher rate of Air Departure Tax that can be re-invested into sustainable transport.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The Scottish Government must address policy incoherence and inconsistency, beginning with ending the policy of Maximum Economic Recovery of oil and gas.
  10. Contribute to a global just and green recovery, 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.

View a more detailed version of the plan at https://foe.scot/10-steps-green-jobs-recovery/

Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she wanted a green recovery https://www.gov.scot/news/climate-change-plan-update/

Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop also asked their Advisory Group on Economic Recovery to “to ensure a green recovery” https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-economy-secretarys-statement-economic-impact-covid-19-tuesday-21-april-2020/

Free to use print quality photos of socially distanced protest by key workers outside Scottish Government HQ in Edinburgh (From June 2020). https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNZSeyv

A report for the Scottish Trade Union Congress in May 2020 estimated that a green stimulus package could create 150,000 jobs. http://www.stuc.org.uk/media-centre/news/1452/to-subject-sent-size-categories-dave-moxham-embargo-00-01-sunday-31st-may-stuc-new-analysis-shows-potential-for-a-13-billion-green-stimulus-package-to-create-150-000-jobs-in-scotland

UK think tank Common Wealth released a report this week outlining why a new economic model for Scotland can build a sustainable, resilient and equitable future. https://www.common-wealth.co.uk/reports/charting-a-just-and-sustainable-recovery-for-scotland

Across the UK, just 6% of people want a return to the pre-pandemic economy. (June 2020)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/28/just-6-of-uk-public-want-a-return-to-pre-pandemic-economy

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.