Ahead of a Scottish Government debate today (15/1/19) on securing a Just Transition to a Carbon-neutral Economy, the Just Transition Partnership, a coalition of trade unions and environmental organisations, highlights why a Just Transition is necessary.

The concept of a just transition is central to a successful response to climate change, and to build popular support for action on to cut emissions. A just transition must:

  • Put protecting workers’ livelihoods, creating new jobs, and delivering a fairer Scotland at the centre of the move to a low-carbon economy
  • Be embedded across and supported by Government priorities and infrastructure projects including the Climate Change Plan, the Publicly Owned Energy Company, the Scottish National Investment Bank, future economic strategies and the work of the enterprise agencies
  • Involve trade unions, communities and environmentalists at the heart of the process
  • Be put into statute under the Climate Change Bill

Grahame Smith, General Secretary, STUC:
“Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing our society. A Just Transition can help secure the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities in the transition to a low carbon economy. However, we must learn from previous transitions and place good jobs and social and economic justice at the heart of our response. This will require significant Government policy, planning, direction and investment across all areas of the economy.”

Mary Church, Head of Campaigns, Friends of the Earth Scotland:
“A Just Transition for workers and communities currently dependent on high carbon industries is essential for a successful response to the climate emergency we are facing. We urgently need transformative change across all sectors to avert the economic and environmental costs of climate change, protect jobs, and to rebalance the economy to one which provides enough decent jobs making and doing things in non-polluting ways.

“The current marketised energy system has failed to deliver on the transformation required, therefore a Just Transition approach should be firmly embedded in the Publicly Owned Energy Company and Scottish National Investment Bank to drive forward the necessary change.”



  1. The Scottish Government debate is on Tuesday 15 January 2019. The motion to be debated is
    “That the Parliament supports the application of just transition principles in Scotland, acknowledging the need to plan, invest in and implement a transition to carbon-neutrality in a way that is fair for all.”
  2. The Just Transition Partnership was formed by Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union Congress in 2016. Membership includes Unite Scotland, UNISON Scotland, UCU Scotland, CWU Scotland, PCS Scotland, and WWF Scotland.
    Read our Joint Statement on Just Transition https://foe.scot/resource/joint-statement-just-transition/
  3. Just Transition Partnership briefing to MSPs ahead of the Parliamentary debate on ‘Securing Just Transition to a Carbon-neutral Economy’ is at: https://foe.scot/resource/just-transition-msp-briefing-jan-2019/
  4. The Just Transition Partnership called for a long-term, statutory Just Transition Commission in February 2017. The Scottish Government announced plans for Commission in its 2017 Programme for Government, followed by a two-year remit with Prof Jim Skea as chair in late 2018. See our response: https://foe.scot/press-release/trade-unions-environment-just-transition-chair/
  5. Full membership of the Commission was announced this weekend. See https://www.gov.scot/publications/just-transition-commission-member-profiles/