Information

Just Transition Commission minutes: March 2022

Minutes from meeting 2 of the Just Transition Commission on 4th March 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)

Remote:

  • Elaine Dougall (Unite/STUC)
  • Mark Reed (SRUC)
  • Ameena Camps (Community Energy Scotland)
  • Colette Cohen (Net Zero Technology Centre)
  • Ann Pettifor (Economist, Policy Research in Macroeconomics)
  • Jake Molloy (RMT)
  • Rajiv Joshi (Bridging Ventures)

Secretariat attendees 

  • Elliot Ross
  • Ann-Marie Meikle
  • Shona Ann Kinnear

 Guests for agenda

  • Sasha Maguire, Scottish Government
  • Matilda Burns, Scottish Government
  • Matt Cole, Chair, Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel
  • Kate Studd, Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG)
  • Chris Stark, Chief Executive, UK Climate Change Committee (CCC)

Apologies

  • Lang Banks (WWF)
  • Ray Riddoch (Harlaw)
  • Katie Gallogly-Swan (Boston University/UN Conference on Trade and Development)
  • Satwat Rehman (One Parent Families Scotland)
  • Hannah Smith (Institution of Civil Engineers)

Items and actions

Welcome and review of action points

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked members to introduce themselves. Apologies were received from Lang Banks, Ray Riddoch, Katie Gallogly-Swan, Satwat Rehman and Hannah Smith. 

The Chair advised he had written to the Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work regarding sequencing and timing of the Just Transition Plans to support the development of the Commission’s Work Plan. A response is expected in the coming weeks.

The Chair explained that the purpose of the meeting was to review existing M and E arrangements in Scottish Government related to just transition issues, review M and E best practices and other sources of relevant information, and agree key elements of the Commission’s high-level approach to tackling the M and E aspect of the remit

Details of the upcoming speakers and guests were provided - Sasha Maguire and Matilda Burns of the Scottish Government had been invited to brief on M and E; Kate Studd from CERG would be providing an overview of CERG and its approach to M and E; and Chris Stark, Chair of the UK CCC, would give an overview of the UK CCC M and E examples. Matt Cole, Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel chair, was in attendance as a guest with a listening brief. 

The Secretariat provided an update on the action points from meeting 1, website progress, the upcoming Communications and Engagement Plan, and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) development.  It was advised a Register of Interest (RoI) is to be established and published on the Commission website in due course to ensure full transparency.  Secretariat also advised that they are available to help with arranging travel and accommodation for future meetings. 

There was discussion on the updated Terms of Reference and agreement that consumer advocacy groups would be added to list of bodies for engagement. 

Secretariat advised on expectations and sequencing for the Energy Strategy Just Transition Plan and other Just Transition Plans. It was noted that the expertise of sitting fixed-term commissioners may be required for a longer period and would be discussed individually.  

Commissioners requested that contact details should be shared amongst the group to allow contacts and relationship-building to develop. 

Action 1: Secretariat to issue Register of Interest (RoI) to Commissioners.

Action 2: Secretariat to review length of appointment with fixed-term Commissioners.

Action 3: Secretariat to share contact details amongst the group for Commissioners who have consented and scope other avenues for internal communication and information sharing.

Action 4: Consumer advocacy groups to be included in ToR as focus for engagement work

Information Gathering Session 1: monitoring and evaluation: existing arrangements and best practices

A presentation from Matilda Burns of the Scottish Government gave an overview of current arrangements and best practice scenarios for M and E within the Scottish Government, including an overview of the National Performance Framework and the Climate Change Plan Monitoring Report. This was supported by the background briefing paper prepared by the Secretariat.

This was followed by a presentation from Kate Studd, CERG who provided an overview of CERG, how it assesses government progress and its approach to M and E.

Members put forward questions and comments. These included queries related to data gathering methods involving qualitative and quantitative data, consistency of statistics, the importance of adopting a person-centred approach and the need to ensure wider global impacts are acknowledged, such as overseas carbon footprints and supply chains. 

Commissioners discussed various data sources and whether they should look to gather specific data focusing on just transition ‘hotspots’ to highlight areas of specific risk. It was noted that public opinion tools and other similar sources could be used to address some aspects of questions around fairness.

There was discussion on the role of engagement work in supporting accurate and impactful M and E, and about the value of engaging with people and organisations most impacted, including care organisations, food banks, citizens advice centres, youth centres, groups that support people with various needs. 

There was agreement the Commission and Scottish Government should give further consideration to who their partners could be in gathering specific information and acknowledgement that some existing data may already be held by other bodies, Trade Unions and consumer groups.

There was consensus that a traffic light system as used by CERG in their reporting is a clear and effective approach.  

Action 5: The Commission and Scottish Government to jointly revisit the latter’s approach to M and E for Just Transition issues.

Action 6: Secretariat to facilitate further collaboration with the Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel.

Information Gathering Session 2: Monitoring & Evaluation: existing arrangements and best practices

Chris Stark briefed the group on ongoing work by the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC), including modelling and analysis in relation to net zero targets for UK and Scotland. There was discussion of the CCC’s approach to M and E and how it is continuing to evolve.

Commissioners put forward questions and comments. These included discussion around the 2030 targets and the need for clear pathways and milestones to mitigate the risk of a disorderly transition, as well as the importance of ensuring effective policy frameworks are in place to support rapid progress. 

There was discussion of the appropriate level of ambition regarding peatland restoration, as well as some consideration of the role of emissions standards in attracting investment in technology and production. 

There was discussion of whether or not a ‘fairness’ test could be applied to policies, and agreement that as far as possible just transition considerations should be leveraged as an enabler of progress, and not only a framework for evaluating outcomes.

Action seven: Secretariat to explore further opportunities for collaboration and information-sharing with CCC.

Monitoring and Evaluation – group discussion

Members met privately in order to review the information from earlier sessions and attempt to agree the key elements of the Commission’s high-level approach on M and E, as well as giving some consideration to how the Commission should evaluate its own progress and ‘what success looks like’ by 2026.

There was broad discussion of the possibilities entailed in developing an M and E framework structured in terms of a number of priority ‘hotspots’ that would include enabling indicators intended to help mitigate risks in a timely manner. It was suggested a thematic framework should be devised to support the selection of key priority hotspots as well as a program of in-depth engagement across impacted sectoral and regional stakeholders in order to establish critical indicators and areas of focus. 

There was also consideration of the role of different forms of qualitative evidence in complementing quantitative data.

There was agreement that M and E work should reflect the urgency of the requirements, so as to support the tangible progress that will be required by 2030, rather than only providing an assessment after the fact.

The Commission discussed the suggestion to break into smaller working groups throughout the term, to ensure the Commission could work across a necessarily broad range of areas, and so as expertise is targeted in the areas best suited and to make the most efficient use of Commissioners time.

There was discussion around goal setting in the short, medium and long-term along with cross-cutting sectoral engagement work. There was acknowledgment that engagement would have to occur at the right time to ensure maximum effectiveness and that engagement planning would have to be shaped accordingly.

There was agreement that the Commission could build on the work and findings of the Climate Assembly as a major engagement undertaking. 

Commissioners were invited to put forward venue suggestions and engagement proposals for the next meeting, scheduled to take place 13 April 2022.

Finally members held a high-level discussion of what success would look like for the Commission over the course of its lifetime. Areas highlighted as part of what success would look like for the Commission by 2026 included specific contributions to policy development including on Just Transition plans, helping to create clarity on delivery pathways, establishing a strong sense that progress towards 2030 within a just transition framework was on track, and whether or not critical fairness considerations had been shown to have an enabling effect on the transition in concrete terms.

The meeting concluded at 15.30

Action 8: Secretariat to work with Chair to draft approach to working-group model for review and further discussion.

Action 9: Secretariat to work with Chair to draft high-level approach to M and E for review and further discussion.

Action 10: Secretariat to share a precis of the Climate Assembly’s work as it bears on Commission work.

Action 11: Secretariat to share arrangements for meeting 3.

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