Just Transition Commission minutes: April 2022

Minutes from the third meeting of the Just Transition Commission on the 13th April 2022.


Attendees and apologies

Commission attendees 

In person:

  • Jim Skea (Chair)
  • Richard Hardy (Prospect)
  • Nick Robins (Grantham Research Institute, LSE)
  • Rachel McEwen (SSE)
  • Ronne Quinn (NECCUS)
  • Lang Banks (WWF)
  • Ray Riddoch (Harlaw)
  • Katie Gallogly-Swan (UN Conference on Trade and Development)
  • Satwat Rehman (One Parent Families Scotland)
  • Hannah Smith (Institution of Civil Engineers)
  • Colette Cohen (Net Zero Technology Centre)
  • Ann Pettifor (Economist, Policy Research in Macroeconomics)
  • Jake Molloy (RMT)

Remote:

  • Ameena Camps (Community Energy Scotland)
  • Rajiv Joshi (Bridging Ventures)

Secretariat attendees:

  • Elliot Ross
  • Shona Ann Kinnear

Guests for agenda remote:

  • Katie Phair, Scottish Government
  • Katy Rankin, Scottish Government 
  • Anthony Kinsella, Scottish Government
  • Colin Seditas, Scottish Government

Apologies:

  • Mark Reed (SRUC)
  • Elaine Dougall (Unite/STUC)

Items and actions

Welcome and review of action points

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave an overview of the agenda and invited AOB. 

The Chair advised the Commission that Hannah Smith will be stepping down from the Commission and recorded thanks for her contribution to the Commission’s work and wished her luck in her new role. 

The Secretariat and Commissioners congratulated the Chair on agreement and recent publication of the UN IPCC Working Group III’s report on mitigation. 

The Secretariat provided an update on progress regarding action points from meeting 2.

Reflections on visit to Peterhead power station 

Commissioners shared reflections from the visit to Peterhead power station the previous day, which had included information gathered regarding carbon capture and the proposed project for the Scottish cluster, as well as meeting SSE apprentices on site. 

There was discussion of the equal gender split among apprentices, supported by the inclusion of biology as a STEM subject, which opened the door to more candidates. 

Members discussed the importance of carbon capture being funded in a way that is fair for tax-payers and consumers, and a range of views on how best major carbon capture projects should be financed. The critical role of carbon pricing was noted.

There was agreement that CCUS needs to be part of a wider package of policy responses and should not limit investment in wider decarbonisation research and development, other measures to decarbonise industry, and reduction of demand where appropriate.

There was discussion of the considerable risk to Scotland in achieving its climate targets in the event Acorn does not receive funding from the UK Government.

Different perspectives on CCUS in an international context were discussed, and there was recognition of the opportunity for Scotland to acquire, apply and share skills within this global context, as well as the possibility of exploring green technology transfer between regions.

ESJTP and JT Fund - information gathering session

Members heard presentations from Scottish Government Officials regarding the Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan(ESJTP), including work done to model different scenarios including different levels of technological advancement and social change, and the role of the program of engagement to be delivered over the coming months in further shaping plans. 

There was agreement on the importance of urgency in agreeing on and taking the necessary decisions to ensure effective delivery of just transition plans, and the need for immediate action if 2030 goals were to be met.

There was agreement on the need for clarity and credibility regarding what is achievable, areas that are especially challenging, and of the value of clarity and honesty regarding decisions and trade-offs .

Discussion of the JT Fund included questions about the bidding process, the structure of funding (in-year as opposed to multi-year), the regional coverage, the importance of delivering value for money, the need for a clear definition of ‘good jobs’ and the role of fair work conditionality in this, as well as options for evaluating the success of projects supported by the JT fund including by reference to the just transition outcomes.

Closed discussion session

Members reviewed the earlier discussion regarding the ESJTP, the Just Transition Fund and Scottish Government engagement plans.

Members discussed and agreed responses to questions in the letter received by the Chair from the Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work in advance of the meeting, and identified areas where further clarity was needed as well as areas where members would carry out specific work in order to prepare appropriate advice.

The Secretariat presented a discussion paper setting out key elements of the Commission’s new Working Groups model. It was agreed that Working Groups would be able to invite elective members with specialist areas of knowledge and experience in order to ensure the Commission is able to draw on specific expertise as required in carrying out is advice and scrutiny.

Members agreed the Commission will publish its annual report for 2022 in July and that this would include sections on risks to delivery of just transition outcomes as well as identifying early actions and short term options in order to accelerate progress.

Action 1: Secretariat to circulate revised paper on Working Groups for further discussion and agreement.

Action 2: Secretariat to revise the Commission’s Work Plan to reflect further clarity on timing, sequencing and scope of Just Transition plans.

Action 3: Secretariat to draft a delivery plan for the Commission’s annual report for 2022.
 

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