Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership - A fresh start

This publication sets out the First Minister’s vision for Scotland and the outcomes he and his government aim to achieve by 2026.

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition

Màiri McAllan MSP

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are global threats of existential proportion. Tackling them is the collective fight of our lifetime, and the lifetime of generations to come.

We must reduce our carbon emissions, protect our natural world, and achieve net zero – we must do so urgently, but we must also do so fairly, and we must be ready to seize the opportunities this transition presents for Scotland. A just transition means reaching our climate targets in a way that is fair, that optimises the social and economic opportunities of a greener future, and which leaves no one behind. Change is necessary but it must be managed carefully. We must learn lessons from the past and ensure the regions and communities most impacted by these changes are best placed to benefit from new sustainable jobs and industries.

I will work with my colleagues and partners, including Local Government, to deliver our statutory climate targets in a way that is fair. This includes driving down greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of warming that we are already experiencing. As part of that, I will ensure that we have accessible, available, and affordable public transport, that our buildings become energy efficient, and we transition away from fossil fuel heating.

As we tackle climate change at home, we will also deepen our global leadership on international climate justice – pushing for bold action across the world and advocating the human rights of those most impacted by flooding, drought, and other climate related disasters.

The climate emergency touches every part of our lives, so nothing less than a fully coordinated Scottish Government response, working with our partners across Scotland and beyond, will suffice.

As the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, working with my Cabinet colleagues, I commit that by 2026 I will have:

  • Driven down Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions further – our new Climate Change Plan will clearly set the pathway to achieving Scotland's world leading commitment to be net zero by 2045.
  • Set out our plan for building resilience to the impacts that climate change is having and will increasingly have on communities and businesses, in our Adaptation Programme.
  • Co-developed a series of just transition plans in support of, and together with, sectors and communities most affected by the net zero transformation, and delivered direct support though our £500 million Just Transition Fund. We will also have consulted on net zero conditionality for significant public sector investment, including proposals to support businesses in their transition to net zero and the role of Just Transition Plans.
  • Continued to support the transition of over 1 million homes and circa 50,000 non-domestic buildings to adopt zero direct emissions heating by 2030 – working closely with the public and business through consultation and engagement.
  • Made progress towards halting biodiversity loss and reversing declines, protecting 30% of our land and seas for nature by 2030, including enhancing protection for our most precious marine areas, improved our evidence base on Scotland's critical blue carbon environments, and have proposed the designation of a new National Park.
  • Published and begun to implement the new National Marine Plan to address the global climate and nature crises by delivering sustainable management of our sizeable marine shared space in the interest of the whole of Scotland and in line with our Blue Economy vision. This will enable ScotWind delivery and support sustainable marine businesses to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes in coastal communities.
  • Supported the transition to a zero waste and circular economy, having taken forward our Circular Economy Bill, subject to the agreement of parliament, increased the recyclability of packaging, including recycling 90% of single use drinks containers through the UK's first Deposit Return Scheme, and modernised local authority recycling infrastructure supported by our Recycling Improvement Fund.
  • Maximised our water resources through consistent investment in our publicly owned Scottish Water, further improved the water environment, adapting how we manage surface water to reduce floods and creating water resilient places, provided new green jobs, and supported renewable energy production, including renewable hydrogen.
  • Advanced towards making our public transport system more accessible, available, and affordable, with the costs of transport more fairly shared across government, business and society.
  • Made progress on our target to reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030. This will include having more 20mph zones, improved road safety and Low Emission Zones in our four largest cities.
  • Delivered a significant step-up in investment in spaces where people can walk, wheel and cycle safely and confidently, when undertaking short everyday journeys, and ensured there are more spaces that put people first, not cars, with the development of active travel freeways underway.
  • Delivered a higher proportion of zero-emission vehicles on our roads, doubled the electric charge point network to at least 6,000, continued to grow the zero-emission bus fleet, and electrified the Barrhead to Glasgow rail line. These actions, alongside others, will not only help tackle climate change but also improve our air quality, contributing to our aim for Scotland to have the best air quality in Europe.
  • Delivered six new major vessels on the ferry network, adapted our strategic road and rail networks including opening the East Linton station and the Levenmouth rail link, improved the resilience of the transport network to climate change impacts, with our immediate focus on the medium term solution for the A83 Rest and Be Thankful, whilst progressing the permanent solution, and continued the dualling of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.
  • Continued our leading international advocacy for loss and damage funding and directly supported more climate impacted communities throughout the world with our Climate Justice Fund.


Email: pfg@gov.scot

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