Labour have won the general election, and now form the UK Government. Against the backdrop of a spiralling climate and nature emergency, this impact of this vote is going to be felt globally for years to come. Tackling climate breakdown must be at the heart of everything Keir Starmer’s Government does from now on.

Westminster retains a significant amount of control and influence over Scottish life. Politicians and the debate and scrutiny they provide in Westminster will affect both reserved and devolved matters for years to come.

The MPs that have been elected will likely be in place until the final months of 2029. In other words, these are the politicians and government who will decide if we are successful in limiting climate breakdown and meeting pollution reduction targets by the end of this critical decade.  

Below are our five key demands for the new UK Government on the most pressing and transformative issues.

Phase out fossil fuels

A managed phase-out from North Sea production is necessary for the climate and for people who work in the industry. Every delay damages the prospects of a just transition for people and communities currently reliant on the industry.

  • Cease all new oil and gas field licenses, development permits and investments. Extracting all the oil and gas from the UK’s already operating fields will far exceed the UK’s share of Paris Agreement goals – ending new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea is the minimum requirement.  All existing licences for undeveloped fields, those on which no work has yet been carried out, must be revoked. There must be a managed phase out of production by 2031, in line with limiting warming to 1.5ºC.
  • Reject onshore fossil fuel infrastructure such as gas-burning power stations.
  • Redirect policy and financial support away from carbon capture and storage towards publicly owned renewable energy and a just transition. Carbon capture and storage is unreliable at scale and will lock us into fossil fuels for decades to come.

Deliver a just transition to a clean, green economy

The next UK Government must deliver a clear and funded transition plan for the people and communities that currently rely on the oil and gas industry.

  • A UK-wide industrial strategy, which prioritises substantial investment in domestic manufacturing and skills, reorganises the tax system for public good, and expands publicly-owned renewable energy production. Only by expanding democratic control at all levels of our energy system and building community wealth, will we be able to create secure green jobs for fossil fuel workers, end fuel poverty, and ensure the benefits of the transition are retained by communities. 
  • Worker involvement in every stage of just transition planning, by expanding sectoral collective bargaining across the energy industry and supply chain. This will enable workers and unions to negotiate just transition plans which meet climate targets and provide training and employment opportunities. 
  • A Jobs Guarantee, providing financial support for every offshore and onshore oil and gas worker who is not supported by the above measures to find equivalent, alternative employment or has to take time out of employment to undertake training. This ‘guarantee’ must include a wage and conditions floor, negotiated with recognised trade unions to ensure workers are not forced into low paid or unsafe jobs in the emerging renewables industry.

Note that these demands arose from Friends of the Earth Scotland’s ongoing work with offshore oil and gas workers. We have laid out their policy demands for an energy transition in the Our Power report, which has the support of Unite the Union Scotland, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), and Unison Scotland.

Create a circular economy that minimises resource use and maximises reuse
  • Support a circular economy across the globe. Our consumption and choices impact communities and people across the globe. The next UK Government must introduce a new law against human rights abuses and environmental destruction in supply chains everywhere – a Business, Human Rights and Environment Act. This should include statutory, science-based targets to reduce the carbon impact of material consumption. They should also revise the Critical Minerals Strategy to ensure that minimising social and environmental impacts is considered as a priority. Commit to working with devolved governments to implement the strategy’s aims and accelerate domestic capacity. Domestically, the next UK Government must commit to working with unions and environmental groups to create a just plan for steel workers to transition to more sustainable forms of steel production
  • Increase recycling and reuse capacity. Across the UK our reuse and recycling rates are woefully inadequate. The next UK Government must help address this issue by  committing to introducing a UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme for cans and bottles by 2027, and banning the burning of plastic and ending plastic waste exports by 2030.
  • Better, longer lasting products. The goods we buy are often designed to be short lived and replaced in order to increase company profits. The next UK Government must improve the quality and affordability of the products we buy by banning planned obsolescence and updating the right to repair law to match EU standards. It should be as easy as possible for people to repair the things they own, with easily accessible instructions, spare parts and the tools or services you need. Products such as consumer electronics, white goods and furniture should be prioritised. 

Make sure money invested through the UK is removed from fossil fuels and support a just transition
  • Remove fossil fuels from private finance. UK based financial institutions invest hundreds of billions of pounds in fossil fuels and the capital that flows through the City of London is major propellant of the climate crisis. The next UK Government should introduce legislation to compel UK-based investors such as pension funds and banks to divest from fossil fuels and encourage financial regulators to invest in line with the Paris Agreement. 
  • Enable pension funds to invest in a just transition. An estimated £128 billion is invested in fossil fuels by UK pension funds, representing £1,916 in fossil fuels investment for every person in the UK. The next UK Government should create new investment vehicles to enable pension funds to invest in publicly-owned renewable energy, renewable heat, sustainable social housing and other programmes urgently needed for a just transition. 
  • New rules are needed to clean up politics including ending fossil fuel funding of parties, candidates and government, ending partnerships and events with fossil fuels, no more open door to lobbying, divestment of the UK Parliament pension fund and restrictions on the ‘revolving door’ between fossil fuels and government. (See Fossil Free Parliament campaign)
  • Support international efforts to free our politics from fossil fuels. The next UK Government must act to support efforts that attempt to limit fossil fuel power across the world including: 1) Supporting efforts in the United Nations to make the Conference of the Parties (COP) process free from fossil fuel industry influence. 2) Commiting to a global ‘Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty’.