Friends of the Earth Scotland responds to the UK Committee on Climate Change letter to the Scottish Government setting out six principles for a resilient recovery from COVID-19.

Caroline Rance, Climate & Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland

“As has been said many times in the past weeks, we cannot go back to normal because that ‘normal’ was failing to protect people and the planet. Coronavirus has underlined the deep inequalities and failings in our society, but it has also shown that governments can prioritise lives and wellbeing over economic or business concerns when needed.

“As we move out of this crisis, the CCC is correct that we must take action to avert the further disruption and misery that unchecked climate breakdown will bring. However, their advice falls short of the ambition and vision needed to rebuild society and the economy in a way that will drive the radical transformation to tackle the interconnected crises of climate breakdown, poverty and widespread social injustices.

“The Scottish Government’s economic recovery package must place huge public investment in the Just Transition to a zero carbon economy in a way that creates good, secure jobs and revitalises communities who are currently dependent on the dangerously unpredictable fossil fuel industry.”

“That means investing public money in building a 100% renewable energy system that is publicly owned, installing renewable heating and insulation in all homes, building a green public transport network and a more circular economy, all of which will improve people’s lives while creating decent jobs and supporting local businesses and communities right across Scotland.

“Public money should not be used to continue drilling for fossil fuels and driving us towards the next crisis. Nor should there be public investment in technologies such as Carbon Capture or fossil hydrogen that fuel the fantasy that we can keep on using oil and gas indefinitely.

“The Government must build on this advice by committing to undertake widespread engagement as they draw up these plans, including with the communities most impacted by the coronavirus, environmental groups, and Trade Unions.

“It is imperative that Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19 is rooted in an internationalist approach that builds in support and solidarity for nations around the world, particularly in the Global South. Millions of people are suffering from the consequences of the pandemic without access to basic facilities and healthcare, and on top of the increasingly worsening impacts of the climate crisis. A truly just and green recovery from coronavirus cannot ignore our responsibility as a rich industrialised nation for causing the climate crisis and the carbon debt we owe the Global South.”

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is the independent adviser to the UK Government and Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on reducing emissions and preparing for climate change. www.theccc.org.uk

View the letter to the Scottish Government at https://www.theccc.org.uk/publications/

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.