Publication - Independent report

Just Transition Commission: advice on a green recovery

Published: 30 Jul 2020

Report prepared by the Just Transition Commission, providing advice to the Scottish Government on ensuring a just green recovery.

30 Jul 2020
Just Transition Commission: advice on a green recovery

The Commission was established to make recommendations to Scottish Ministers on how we can transition to a net-zero economy by 2045 in a way which:

  1. maximises the economic and social opportunities that the move to a net-zero economy by 2045 offers

  2. builds on Scotland’s existing strengths and assets

  3. understands and mitigates risks that could arise in relation to regional cohesion, equalities, poverty (including fuel poverty), and a sustainable and inclusive labour market

We published our interim report in February, laying out our emerging thinking and initial recommendations for government. Since then the pandemic has swept across the world, disrupting our lives and extracting a devastating toll on health and our wider society while demonstrating the impact that sudden and unplanned transitions can have.

This report has come about as a result of a request from the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, asking us for advice on a green recovery from the pandemic. We have been asked specifically to consider the green recovery through a just transition lens, building on the work of other groups such as the Committee on Climate Change. The Government set out the stages for its economic response to the pandemic in April: Response, Reset, Restart, and Recover. It is the final stage of this plan that we are focussed on in this report.

While the pandemic has had a profound impact on our economy and the way we live our lives, it has also shone a cruel light on many of the structural inequalities that exist in our society. The public sector has been forced to intervene in the economy and in people’s lives in a way some would have previously thought impossible.

On the climate change front, we have seen the understandable delay to both the Scottish Government publication of the updated Climate Change Plan and to COP26. While these decisions were inevitable in light of the unprecedented circumstances, we must be careful not to lose sight of the urgent need to tackle the climate challenge. The most recent statistics show Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2018, a trend that desperately needs reversing and at pace. Now is the time for renewed commitment to reset our pathway to net-zero, while building a fairer and more resilient economy.

Many recent reports have called for a green recovery. In particular, we draw attention to the work of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) and the Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG). We have also gained insight from a wide range of sectors and there is a clear consensus on the importance of an investment-led recovery and the need to ensure the economic recovery is consistent with Scotland’s climate ambitions.