Trade unions and environmental organisations are calling on the Scottish Government to show real commitment to fairly cutting climate pollution throughout the economy and to embrace the recommendations of the new Just Transition Commission’s first report (Thursday 14 July).

The Just Transition Partnership, an initiative set up by Scottish Trades Union Congress and Friends of Earth Scotland in 2016, had called on the Scottish Government to set up the Commission.

The Partnership praised the first report of the new Just Transition Commission for its sharp focus on closing the investment gap, delivering a better deal for workers, tackling inequalities at every level and the need for a global just transition.

The report also calls for:

  • targeted investment in public transport, expanding rail networks, making services affordable and improving provision in remote and rural areas, rejecting Scottish Government proposals for cuts to the railway;
  • urgently tackling fuel poverty and “affordable clean energy [to be made] be available to all…addressing pricing barriers for renewable sources and reducing energy consumption through increased efficiency”;
  • the new National Care Service to be placed “firmly within the public sphere, with a robust public investment plan and a human rights delivery approach at the local, regional and national level”;
  • a new approach to industrial planning to address the “challenges of large-scale decarbonisation, the cost-of-living emergency and the climate emergency [and which] demand a whole system transformation”;
  • prioritising a ‘do no harm’ approach overseas, recognising that Scotland’s “position as an advanced economy was gained through the historic exploitation of fossil fuels, and indeed the natural resources of formerly colonised regions”.

STUC Deputy General Secretary Dave Moxham said:

“We have long argued for a coherent low-carbon industrial strategy that creates decent unionised jobs through significant public investment and places the voice of workers at its core via trade union involvement at national and workplace level. This report lays out some of the important steps that the Scottish Government should take to achieve a Just Transition in areas such as energy, buildings and transport to ensure that workers and their communities are not left behind.

“The National Care Service recommendations are welcome. As with energy, we believe public ownership is best for tackling the climate and cost of living emergencies. Taking care services away from local government damages local delivery and accountability.”

Friends of Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

“From investing in and expanding public transport to making clean energy available and affordable to all, this report outlines a series of clear recommendations for a transformative programme of climate action that can serve people and the planet. It also highlights the need for contingency plans where negative emissions technologies are relied on, a timely echo of repeated warnings on this front with the Scottish Government’s recent admission that these technologies won’t deliver for 2030.

“It’s hugely welcome that the report calls for an approach to just transition that does no harm overseas, particularly in the global south, and the duty on Scotland as a rich, historical polluter in creating an enabling environment for a global just transition through climate finance, knowledge and resource sharing.

“The Scottish Government must now take rapid action to deliver on these recommendations to plug the gaping hole in its climate plan and ensure we can hit climate targets, tackle the energy price crisis while creating new opportunities for workers and communities across the country, and paying our climate debt to the global South.”

Ministers will have an opportunity to show their commitment to a Just Transition by incorporating the report’s recommendations in the draft revised Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan which is scheduled for consultation in Autumn and in the forthcoming Climate Change Plan, expected in spring 2023.

The Just Transition Commission Report is available https://www.gov.scot/publications/making-future-initial-report-2nd-transition-commission/

The Just Transition Partnership was formed by Friends of the Earth
Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union Congress. Membership
includes Unite Scotland, UNISON Scotland, UCU Scotland, CWU Scotland, PCS Scotland, New Economics Foundation, Common Weal and WWF Scotland. When it was set up in 2016 one of its first proposals was the establishment of the Just Transition Commission.