Just Transition Commission meeting papers: January 2019

Papers and minutes for the first meeting of Just Transition Commission, held on 31 January 2019.

Attendees and apologies

Commission attendees

  • Professor Jim Skea (Chair)
  • Lang Banks, representing WWF Scotland
  • Colette Cohen
  • Richard Hardy, representing Prospect
  • Charlotte Hartley, representing 2050 Climate Group
  • Norman Kerr
  • Rachel McEwen
  • Dave Moxham, representing STUC
  • Kate Rowell
  • Tom Shields
  • Professor Karen Turner

Secretariat attendees

  • Colin Seditas, Scottish Government
  • Gregor Auld, Scottish Government

For agenda item 4 only

  • Andy Hirst, Cambridge Policy Consultants
  • Professor Alan McGregor, Cambridge Policy Consultants

Items and actions

1. Welcome and apologies

Professor Jim Skea welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Apologies were received from Professor Duncan MacLennan, Commissioner.

The group briefly went around the table introducing themselves and gave some background to their interest in the work of the Commission.

2. Overview

The secretariat introduced papers 1/1 and 1/2, for information. These included a copy of the Commission’s remit as given by Ministers, and a summary of the parliamentary debate held on the application of just transition principles to Scotland. The content of both papers were noted.

It was requested the secretariat circulate details of events such as the debate to Commissioners in advance. A note was made to amend the terms of reference to ensure this is covered as a function of the secretariat (addressed at agenda item 5).

3. Roundtable

The Chair then invited Commissioners to share their ambitions for the Commission’s work and any significant risks they anticipated. A range of common themes emerged from the roundtable discussion.

There was broad consensus about the need to learn lessons from the past. Particular reference was made to the decarbonisation of electricity generation and the experience of coal mining in Scotland as examples the Commission could hope to learn from.

The need to engage widely and ensure a representative range of voices were heard was recognised as a particular challenge. It was agreed that more thought would need to be given to this, especially the manner in which the Commission would engage in public discussions and raise awareness of just transition issues.

There was also discussion around the possible nature of the Commission’s outputs. It was felt that recommendations should be high level, and provide strategic direction to the Scottish Government. This would be explored further as the Commission’s work progressed.

It was agreed that taking an evidence-based approach and consulting widely would increase the credibility and usefulness of the Commission’s recommendations.

4. Background information report

A presentation from Cambridge Policy Consultants was then heard, which gave an overview of current and projected characteristics of the Scottish population, economy, labour market, skills landscape, and greenhouse gas emissions.

It was noted that Cambridge Policy Consultant’s full draft report would be available shortly. The secretariat were asked to share the draft report with Commissioners once available.

Action point 1: secretariat to share draft report with Commissioners for comment w/c 11th February

5. Draft terms of reference

The Commission then considered the draft terms of reference in paper 1/4. The terms were agreed by Commissioners, subject to several amendments including an addition of a standing item on the meeting agendas addressing potential conflicts of interest. Slight changes were also made to the roles of the secretariat and Commissioners.

Action point 2: secretariat to share updated terms of reference in advance of next meeting

6. Draft work plan

Paper 1/5 outlining a draft work plan was introduced by the secretariat. It was explained that this paper was intended to serve as a starting point for discussion.

A range of themes and sectors/topics were agreed to assist with work planning. The themes will guide the Commission’s exploration of individual sectors and topics. Themes will include: economic development, quality of work, regional cohesion, social inclusion and lessons learned.

The topics/sectors, which will be used to structure the Commission’s work (meetings and any associated engagement events), were agreed as:

  • power generation and transmission
  • transport/buildings and the public sector
  • oil and gas
  • land and agriculture
  • energy intensive industries
  • finance and investment/business
  • innovation and delivery at scale
  • skills and labour market/education

The discussion turned to sequencing, with agreement that work should first focus on individual sectors before moving to cross-cutting topics. The second meeting of the Commission will focus on power generation and transmission, to allow for the consideration of lessons learned from the transition away from coal to renewables.

There was agreement that the work plan would be kept under review and will likely be developed further. In particular, it was identified that there is a need to add key outcomes for the Commission to allow for on-going monitoring against the work plan.

Commissioners agreed that a separate communications plan should be drafted to sit alongside the work plan, outlining how the Commission will handle engagement.  It was also agreed that a briefing pack should be developed that would help Commissioners to ensure a consistent approach when engaging with others on Commission matters.

Action point 3: secretariat to share updated work plan in advance of next meeting

Action point 4: secretariat to draft communications plan to share in advance of next meeting

7. Commissioning of research

The Commission considered paper 1/6 which proposed the commissioning of social research to explore opinions of members of the public in relation to the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

There was a consensus that greater thought needed to be given to what was hoped to be achieved by any social research before putting anything out to tender.

The secretariat also sought views from the Commission about areas of research they felt would contribute to their work over the coming year. It was agreed that a summary of lessons learned from previous transitions would be useful in the early stages of the Commission’s work. As a related piece of work it was noted that it would be helpful to have a summary of on-going approaches to just transition in other countries/regions.

Action point 5: secretariat to provide update on the Commission’s capacity to procure third party research

Action point 6: secretariat to consider how best to gather information on just transition activity in other countries

8. Any other business

The meeting ended 16:00. The date of next meeting is scheduled for April.

Action point 7: secretariat to organise dates for next series of meetings


Just Transition Commission


Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - agenda
Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - debate briefing
Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - minutes
Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - remit
Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - research
Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - terms of reference
Just Transition Commission - meeting 1 - work plan


Just Transition Secretariat
Area 3F South
Victoria Quay


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