Response to Climate Change Plan Update.

Trade unions and environmentalists in the Just Transition Partnership have criticised the draft Climate Change Plan, published today,[1] for failing to show how it will ensure creation of new green jobs and protect the livelihoods of impacted workers and communities in Scotland.

Despite the frequent references to and the welcome aspiration for a just transition in the document, the updated Climate Change Plan does not set out how Ministers intend to support the workforce, employers and communities as part of the shift to a low carbon economy.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2019 requires Ministers to “set out [their] proposals and policies for supporting the workforce, employers and communities in those sectors and regions”.[3]

Ministers have argued that the draft plan, which sets out how emissions reductions are to be achieved to 2032, is an update to the existing Climate Change Plan therefore falls under the 2009 Climate Change Act. However, advisory body the Just Transition Commission expressly recommended that just transition provisions of the 2019 Act should be applied to the update.[2]

Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress, said:

“We know from past experience that promises of green jobs are easily broken if they are not followed up with policy action. While the plan contains a number of references to green jobs forecasts from industry bodies, there appears to be little new analysis from the Scottish Government on how this plan will impact on workers.

Although there is reference to environmental conditionality, there does not appear to be specific proposals to ensure that low-carbon and renewable energy companies actually deliver good quality jobs in the Scottish supply chain. Nor are there proposals to ensure that Scotland’s public sector benefits from the green industrial revolution and the profits are not simply captured by multinational companies.”

Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“The Scottish Government’s failure to set out how they will support the workforce in moving to a zero carbon economy as part of this climate plan, despite the express recommendation of the Just Transition Commission, exposes how empty the rhetoric is. This plan sets the framework for cutting carbon emissions in Scotland over the crucial next decade for climate action, but the work to deliver a transition that protects the livelihoods of workers and communities can’t wait 5 years until the next climate change plan kicks in, it has to start now.

We urgently need to see a concrete Just Transition Action Plan with targets and timescales for reducing emissions, investment and job creation, across sectors and regions, putting communities and workers at the heart of the move to a zero carbon economy.”

Notes to Editors

1. The draft Climate Change Plan can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/securing-green-recovery-path-net-zero-update-climate-change-plan-20182032/ 

2. In their interim report, the Just Transition Commission recommended that the provisions of the 2019 Act should be applied to the update of the Climate Change Plan – see: https://www.gov.scot/publications/transition-commission-interim-report/

3. The Climate Change Act 2019 requires:

From paragraph 35 (20) of Climate Change (Emissions Reductions Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019

“with reference to the just transition principles (see section 35C)—

(a) explain how the proposals and policies set out in the plan are expected to affect different sectors of the Scottish economy and different regions in Scotland, including how they are expected to affect employment in those sectors and regions, and

(b) set out the Scottish Ministers’ proposals and policies for supporting the workforce, employers and communities in those sectors and regions”.

4. 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/