Annex F: Note of the Climate Change – Civil Society Roundtable
Resource Spending Review:
Note of roundtable discussion 13:30 – 14:30
28 April 2022
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport
Philip Revell – Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN)
Juliet Swann – Involve
Lloyd Austin – Stop Climate Chaos
Douglas Peedle – Scottish Environment Link
Lang Banks – WWF
Supporting Scottish Government Officials from Climate Change and Public Spending divisions.
Purpose of Discussion
This is part of the external engagement programme for the RSR which supplements the online consultation (opened 9 December 2021 with publication of the Resource Spending Review Framework, closed 27 March 2022).
The Cabinet Secretary welcomed attendees and provided a brief overview of the RSR. Scottish Government officials then presented on the RSR and Scottish Government Climate Policy and Climate Commitments. Mr Matheson then opened the discussion, asking stakeholders for their insight into the following points:
- Improving spending through the RSR;
- Specific areas of climate change the Scottish Government should prioritise or deprioritise for resource spend over the next five years.
The attendees offered the following contributions:
- The group supported Climate Change as one of the RSR priorities, highlighting that including it as a priority showed the importance and urgency of the issue.
- The four RSR priorities are not mutually exclusive, tackling climate change in the right way can have positive impacts on the other priorities. It is important to link-up the various agendas in creating policy solutions to ensure delivery of the greatest benefits.
- As an example, one opportunity to reduce poverty through climate change is through investing into energy efficiency and insulation, which will also have an impact on citizens' heating bills.
- In terms of prioritising the SG's limited budgets, attendees suggested reducing high emission activities and increasing spending on activities to reduce emissions. Attendees also underlined the importance of going beyond commitments and the need for efficient and effective delivery of change.
- Important to recognise the importance of nature and nature based solutions – not only in the spending but also in the narrative.
- Attendees also underlined the importance of projects to develop wetlands, saltmarsh and sea grass as opportunities to support the climate change agenda.
- Attendees noted the example of the International Climate Justice Fund and COP26 loss and damage commitments as small investments with significant impact.
- Attendees welcomed the multi-year spending plans and noted that greater clarity on the future direction of public finances enables strategic planning across Scotland.
- Attendees noted the importance of 'invest to save' initiatives and the opportunity that RSR presents to take these forward.
- The recommendations from the Just Transition Commission provide a set of actions that will support the climate change agenda, and include reference to the additional benefits that can be realised in tackling climate change (e.g. health, poverty).
- Agricultural reform is key to the just transition and requires significant government support to enable farm and land workers to transition to net zero.
- There is an opportunity to look at this in the development of the new subsidy scheme.
- One possible option is to provide the Farm Advisory Service with the resources and training to support stakeholders to make this shift.
- Resource is required to develop a regulatory system that helps the private sector to invest in climate change initiatives, unlocking additional finance to support the goal of meeting SG's statutory targets.
- Attendees noted the importance of the move towards a wellbeing economy and the implications that moving away from an economic growth based perspective might have for climate change objectives.
- Attendees also noted that there are opportunities in the circular economy space that should be capitalised on (e.g. producer responsibility schemes).
- An understanding of climate change needs to be provided across all sectors in order to help push change forward.
- Investment in climate literacy CPD for sector at all levels required to allow the change to occur. Additional resource would be required to allow staff coverage whilst completing CPD.
- Government should investigate the most effective mechanisms to enable businesses to learn from one another.
- Local communities have the potential to support radical economic change, which can turn the dial on climate change, if provided with the right support and funding.
- To enable local communities to achieve this, long-term commitment of resources is required. Short-term grant funding will not support the change required to shift the dial on climate change targets.
- The biodiversity crisis should be considered of equal importance to the climate crisis – there is a risk of seeing the biodiversity crisis as a subset of the climate crisis.
- To support the response to the biodiversity crisis, funding is required for the Scottish biodiversity strategy and to support the nature positive aspects of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
- Attendees noted an opportunity for the Scottish Government and its delivery partners to streamline funding. Attendees noted that a large number of small funding pots can increase the administrative burden on organisations and detract from delivery.
Closing the session
The session ran past the scheduled end time, The Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport had to leave at scheduled end time due to other commitments. Mr Matheson thanked all attendees for their participation and asked that one of the supporting officials continued the session in his absence. A supporting SG official chaired the meeting until close, thanking all attendees for their participation and agreeing a process for clearing a short note of the discussion, to be included in the analysis of all responses to the RSR Framework consultation.
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