Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero: climate change plan 2018–2032 - update

This update to Scotland's 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan sets out the Scottish Government's pathway to our new and ambitious targets set by the Climate Change Act 2019. It is a key strategic document on our green recovery from COVID-19.

Part 1: Green Recovery

1.0.1 The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives. While there are many challenges there are also important opportunities in this time of change. In our recovery from COVID-19, we can rebuild our society and economy in a greener, fairer and more sustainable way.

1.0.2 To deliver on that opportunity, the Scottish Government has committed to a green recovery from COVID-19: a recovery which sets us on a path to meeting our world-leading emissions reduction targets in a way that is just and improves the outcomes for everyone in Scotland, ensuring no one is left behind. COVID-19 has demonstrated the risks of abrupt, unplanned shifts and how these exacerbate inequalities in our society. However, a green recovery offers opportunities to address these inequalities, create and maintain good, green jobs right across Scotland, and empower people and communities to make decisions about their future through community wealth building. A green recovery drives action to reduce our emissions and protect and restore our natural environment.

1.0.3 While recognising the impacts are different, there are lessons to be learned from crises of the past, for example the 2008-10 financial crash. As the International Energy Agency noted earlier this year, a 400 million tonne CO2 reduction in 2009 was followed by a rise of 1.7 billion tonnes in 2010, which is the sharpest upswing in history[5].

1.0.4 Analysis of the impact from COVID-19 on emissions, published in April 2020, suggests the pandemic could result in global emissions reductions this year of around 2 billion tonnes of CO2, or 5.5% of 2019 emissions, which would be the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions[6].

1.0.5 However, the resurgence of emissions following the 2008-10 financial crash should make us treat anticipated emissions reductions with caution. Indeed, more recent evidence suggests that at least some of these gains may be temporary. One study tracking global emissions, using fossil fuels and cement production as key indicators, shows an increase of CO2 levels by late April[7]. Another study tracking emissions through consumer expenditure in the UK shows an increase in CO2 emissions between quarter two and quarter three of 2020, likely related to loosening of lockdown policies[8]. It is critical for the future of our planet, and for Scotland’s contribution to tackling the climate emergency, that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must secure this opportunity to lock-in as much of the emissions reductions as possible through a just and green recovery, setting us on a pathway to net zero.

1.1. Engagement with Stakeholders on a Green Recovery

1.1.1 Our approach to a green recovery is being informed by experts, stakeholders and the public.

Public engagement

1.1.2 Our approach to a green recovery has been informed by the latest public opinions and research, including proposals to embed climate positive behaviour changes we have experienced since March 2020.

1.1.3 The Scottish Government commissioned research on public views for a green recovery in Scotland. The research findings are based on a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,045 adults across Scotland, and provide robust data exploring views on potential actions to reduce carbon emissions and support our recovery. The vast majority of respondents (79%) said climate change is an “immediate and urgent problem” and the number of respondents rating change as “urgent” is significantly higher than in the 2019 Scottish Household Survey. Over a quarter (26%) of respondents said they are more concerned about tackling climate change since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with only 7% saying they are less concerned[9].

1.1.4 The actions tested with the public received high levels of support and respondents highlighted the benefits that these measures can have for our jobs, the economy and wellbeing, as well as climate change. For example, in terms of actions to deliver a green recovery, a majority would support requirements on homeowners to replace their current gas or oil-fired boiler and radiators with a new type of heating system that is more environmentally friendly, although respondents did not feel homeowners should bear the cost of this. Most respondents also supported investing public money in low carbon companies, noting the co-benefits for the economy and our climate. Furthermore, in line with public attitudes data which shows that people intend to walk and cycle more in the future[10], a majority would be willing to reduce the amount they travel by car. Among the minority opposed to the measures, the most common reasons given were concerns about who might carry the cost, implications on jobs and perceptions of financial risk. We must continue to consider such factors as part of our commitment to a just transition, ensuring we reduce our emissions in a way that is fair.

1.1.5 We have also commissioned research via ClimateXchange to better understand how and why behaviours are changing as a result of the pandemic. The research is following a cohort of 30 participants over approximately 8 months to explore participants’ experiences of behaviour change, including the factors influencing whether new behaviours are likely to be sustained over time. Participants were selected to represent a mixture of demographics and a variety of attitudes to climate change, allowing for investigation of the factors influencing behaviours for people living in different circumstances. To complement this in-depth study, we are funding a nationally-representative random household survey of over 1,100 people in Scotland, which will generate quantitative data on post-pandemic attitudes and behaviours relating to net zero and green recovery. There will be two rounds of data collection, with the first wave of results expected in January 2021.

1.1.6 The findings of our public research are a key step to assess how public opinion on climate change and behaviours have changed in light of COVID-19. Despite the challenges we’ve faced as a result of the pandemic, it’s clear that levels of concern around climate change continue to grow and the public recognises the dual benefits of tackling climate change and an effective green recovery of the economy. We will continue to engage closely with the Scottish public as we deliver upon a recovery that aligns with our climate ambition. Further public engagement, including the Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change, will provide an opportunity to further our insight into public attitudes, behaviours and recommendations to tackle climate change.

Draft Public Engagement Strategy

Alongside the publication of this document we have also published our Net Zero Nation: Draft Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change for public consultation. This strategy outlines our new overarching framework for engaging the people of Scotland in the national effort required to successfully realise the ambition included within the Climate Change Plan Update.

The draft strategy marks a step change in our approach to public engagement in climate change policy, moving from encouraging incremental changes in attitudes and behaviours, to supporting a society-wide transformation. We want to put people at the heart of everything we do have therefore structured our new approach around three strategic objectives:

1. People are aware of the action the Scottish Government is taking to tackle climate change and how it relates to their lives.

2. People actively participate in shaping fair and inclusive policies that promote adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

3. Taking action on climate change is normalised and encouraged in communities and places across Scotland.

Delivery of the strategy will require collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, from community groups to local authorities and delivery bodies. We encourage interested parties to contribute to the consultation, here.

Stakeholder recommendations

1.1.7 In April 2020, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, requested advice from the Climate Change Committee and established the Sustainable Renewal Advisory Group, recognising the importance of bringing experts together to consider the green recovery from the pandemic.

In response to a request for advice, the Climate Change Committee wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on 6 May recommending that the Scottish Government, in partnership with Westminster, prioritises actions according to six principles for a resilient recovery[11]:

1. Use climate investments to support the economic recovery and jobs

2. Lead a shift towards positive long-term behaviours

3. Tackle the wider ‘resilience deficit’ on climate change

4. Embed fairness as a core principle

5. Ensure the recovery does not ‘lock-in’ greenhouse gas emissions or increased climate risk

6. Strengthen incentives to reduce emissions when considering fiscal changes

1.1.8 The Sustainable Renewal Advisory Group brought together Members of the Scottish Parliament and stakeholders from across academia, industry, business, trade unions and environmental organisations. They were tasked with identifying concrete, deliverable ways of embedding sustainability in Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19, as well as exploring the new challenges and opportunities in achieving our climate change targets. The Cabinet Secretary chaired the group, which met six times from May to November 2020, thoroughly exploring topics around a green recovery and informing this Climate Change Plan update.

1.1.9 The Scottish Government also requested advice on a green recovery from the Just Transition Commission and the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. Furthermore, we have considered recommendations from a number of organisations, such as the Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG), Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Scottish Environment Link, WWF Scotland and other environmental organisations; from the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland; and from private sector stakeholders including the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Scottish Renewables, Scottish Renewables, SSE and EON, among many others.

Just Transition Commission Recommendations

The Just Transition Commission is an independent Commission tasked with providing Scottish Ministers with practical, realistic, affordable recommendations for action to deliver a just transition to net zero in Scotland. The Commission will run for two years and is expected to deliver its final report in March 2021.

In July 2020 the group’s Recommendations for a Just, Green Recovery advised on immediate priorities in response to the pandemic. The report highlighted four “hot spot” areas that would require particular attention in the near term: (a) the particular risk to young people, (b) the uncertainty around changes in transport use patterns, (c) the rapid, unplanned transition unfolding in the oil and gas sector and (d) the fact that parts of the rural economy had been particularly hard hit. Specific recommendations for action can be summarised as:

1. Boosting measures that will help keep people warm, create jobs and save money for energy consumers

2. Backing buses and boost the supply chain

3. Helping rural Scotland by helping Scotland’s nature

4. Maintaining jobs for workers in oil and gas while transitioning into jobs of the future

5. Aligning skills development – for young and old – to the net zero transition

6. Giving business direction and attach conditions to funding

1.1.10 We have conducted an analysis of all of this advice, from which a number of key cross-cutting themes and recommendations have emerged:

  • Opportunities for green job creation, including reskilling and retraining of the workforce into sustainable, good jobs;
  • Delivery of a just and fair recovery;
  • Use of green finance and investment initiatives such as carbon pricing;
  • Encompassing conditionality into our recovery, ensuring that support for sectors aligns with our commitment to climate change targets and investment in Scotland’s natural capital;
  • Prioritising resilience in our economy to protect it from future crises, such as those caused by climate change;
  • Locking in positive behaviour, particularly active travel and remote working, and investment in high-speed telecommunications to support working from home; and
  • Ensuring that we harness a place-based approach, taking actions at a local level to ensure that the benefits are spread widely.

1.1.11 Other recommendations are sector-specific, such as:

  • Transport - Further commitment to green transport, including investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, increased affordability of public transport, decarbonisation of public transport and prioritisation of active travel.
  • Buildings - Emphasis on sustainable housing, for example in the delivery of housing retrofits to increase energy efficiency, tackling fuel poverty, and higher carbon standards for new homes.
  • Electricity - Increased investment in renewable energy, particularly onshore and offshore wind.
  • Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry - Focus on biodiversity and ‘natural capital’ through the optimisation of land use such as restoration of peatland, tree planting, and “re-wetting” of bog land.

1.1.12 These recommendations have informed our delivery of a green recovery to date. Details on sector specific policies are included within the relevant sector chapters in Part 3; cross sector recommendations are addressed below.

1.2. Delivering a Green Recovery

1.2.1 Across all of the actions in this Climate Change Plan update, we are embedding a just transition, ensuring that we assess how green recovery actions address inequalities and deliver wellbeing outcomes for everyone. A just transition is key to our focus on good, fair jobs and Community Wealth Building. It also takes a place-based approach to policy development and delivery. We will consider the detailed design of these policies and initiatives to deliver a just transition and examine the costs to ensure they do not disproportionately disadvantage certain groups, places or sectors.

Investing to drive demand in the net zero economy

1.2.2 The transition to net zero will require significant upfront investment in modernised infrastructure and capital projects, preserving and restoring Scotland’s natural environment, and modernising our building stock. As stakeholders such as the CCC and CERG have stressed, while government has a crucial role to play, the scale of this transformation cannot be funded by the public purse alone. Mobilising private sector and personal investment in the quantity and at the pace required will put Scotland in prime position to maximise the economic benefits from the low carbon global economy, as well as on the path to meet our emissions targets.

Public investment and stimulus

1.2.3 The fiscal challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis are considerable, but we have continued to prioritise action to reduce our emissions, demonstrating our commitment to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change. Using public investment to create an environment where new industries, markets and innovations can thrive is key to securing a just transition to net zero by 2045.

1.2.4 Since setting our new emissions targets in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction) (Scotland) Act 2019, the Scottish Government has made significant spending commitments for net zero initiatives. Our 2020–2021 Budget brought our overall low carbon capital spend to £1.8 billion on an annual basis, while our 2020-2021 Programme for Government and our draft Infrastructure Investment Plan committed an additional £2 billion capital investment to support the green recovery over the life of the next Parliament.

1.2.5 Those investments included the first tranche of the Low Carbon Fund set out in the 2020-2021 Programme for Government and Draft Infrastructure Investment Plan. The Low Carbon Fund was designed to support transformational projects which accelerate our just transition to net zero, provide a level of certainty needed to grow new markets for private investment, and create employment opportunities. The final tranche of the Low Carbon Fund is set out in this Plan update with £180 million for Emerging Energy Technology, including an emphasis on Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs), £120 million to drive forward a fully decarbonised future for buses, £50 million to transform vacant and derelict land to support our climate objectives, and a further £50 million uplift to active travel through the creation of “Active Freeways”. The role of public investment is crucial in helping prove a concept or an approach that could become central to our transition.

1.2.6 The draft Infrastructure Investment Plan for 2021/22 to 2025/26 published in September 2020 details around £24 billion of major projects and national programmes, with more to be confirmed in future years. These investments will provide a near-term stimulus to support Scotland’s economic recovery, and also lay the foundations for long-term green growth. The draft Plan provides a robust pipeline of low carbon projects, creating the conditions for new supply chains to develop, and for the creation of good, green jobs in areas such as construction and building retrofit, nature and environmental projects, and transport and digital infrastructure.

Infrastructure Investment Plan

Infrastructure investment has a vital role to play in helping businesses and communities to adapt and recover from the economic, health and social harm arising from COVID-19. It cuts across all of the sectors included in this Climate Change Plan update, from our energy systems and how we heat our homes, to our transport links and green spaces.

The Scottish Government’s investment in publicly-funded infrastructure has a critical role to play in supporting the transition. Committing to multiyear investments in this Plan update sends a clear signal to businesses and supply chains to invest in people and technology, and help us deliver the net zero transition. But it is only a share of the effort, and cannot deliver such targets on its own.

What we are doing: We already invest £1.8 billion of capital each year in low carbon policies and programmes. Scottish Ministers have committed to increasing the level of spending by an additional £2 billion over the next 5 years. New schemes have already been announced in the 2020-2021 Programme for Government that will deploy £1.6 billion of this investment.

Our draft Infrastructure Investment Plan (IIP)[12] was published in September and we are committed to finalising the Plan alongside the forthcoming Budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy.

The IIP is the key delivery programme for the National Infrastructure Mission which represents over £33 billion of Scottish Government investment in the next five years (from April 2021). The draft IIP sets a long-term vision of infrastructure supporting an inclusive, net zero carbon economy in Scotland. It also recognises the vital role that Scotland’s natural environment can play in our infrastructure system and highlights climate resilience as a key priority over the coming years. The proposed common infrastructure investment hierarchy emphasises making the most of our existing assets in order to increase sustainability and address the climate emergency.

In passing the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, the Scottish Parliament agreed that a new methodology should be developed in order to assess the contribution made by the infrastructure investment plan to our new climate change targets. In order to respond to this new requirement, and in recognition of the limitations of the current approach, an independent research project was commissioned to explore alternative options. This research was facilitated by ClimateXChange, Scotland’s centre for expertise connecting climate research and policy. The Scottish Government plans to consider these research findings carefully and invited views on the approach within the consultation on the draft IIP.

1.2.7 As we invest in a green recovery, we will work in partnership with businesses to best align business recovery support with our long-term climate, environmental, economic and social goals. This partnership approach to ‘conditionality’ of business support was set out in our response to recommendations from the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery in August 2020[13]. Conditionality might be applied to a wide range of interventions and may carry risks of unintended consequences. For example real (or perceived) threats to business competitiveness can lead to emissions being off-shored as production is moved elsewhere. Therefore, as part of our response to COVID-19, we have taken a bespoke, partnership approach to conditionality. For example, support for high emitters would be expected to be contingent on credible, robust transition plans that align with Scotland’s climate change ambition. In other cases we would expect those seeking support to publicly align with Scottish Government values, particularly those relating to climate and environmental ambition and fair work.

Mobilising public sector procurement spend

1.2.8 We are mobilising the £12.6 billion of public sector procurement and collaborating across the public sector on tools and guidance to support a green recovery and our wider climate and circular economy ambitions.

1.2.9 Our public sector leaders will need to encourage their organisations to work across boundaries to identify opportunities to procure in an environmentally-friendly way, and will need low carbon options to help them make sustainable choices. For example, this will include using the Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency Frameworks that provide public bodies with advice on and a route to retrofit public buildings to improve their energy efficiency.[14]

1.2.10 The climate emergency is a very clear priority for higher emission products and services with key areas of focus outlined in the within this Climate Change Plan update, including commitments to decarbonise the public sector fleet and heat. There continues to be significant investment in upskilling public procurers to understand and implement the sustainable procurement duty and to deliver on our ambitions. The Scottish Government’s sustainable procurement tools[15], available to all public bodies, already include indicators and guidance to support Scottish public sector buyers to consider and act on climate change considerations. These include the Sustainable Public Procurement Prioritisation Tool, designed to assist strategic planning and prioritisation of economic, environmental and social wellbeing considerations in public procurements to ensure an appropriate focus within organisational and category/ commodity planning. All of this allows us to make best use of existing public procurement policy and law in Scotland.

Mobilising private investment and green finance

1.2.11 A central objective of Scottish Government investment in a green recovery is to mobilise and attract additional private investment. The transition to net zero presents a considerable opportunity to position Scotland to benefit from increased, global private investment, as well as an opportunity for investors themselves. Demonstrating Scotland’s net zero investment opportunities to business and investors, while identifying and reducing barriers to investment in the low carbon transition, will be vital to achieving the emissions targets outlined in this Climate Change Plan update.

1.2.12 Scotland’s commitment to the net zero transition is already attracting significant investment, such as Scottish Power’s pledge to invest over £10 billion in North Sea renewables in the coming decade. The Scottish Government has a role to play in making clear the value of investment in net zero to private actors, and we are working to develop an attractive investment environment in Scotland. By providing clear guidance over future government policy, regulations, and the path of public investment, we are laying the ground for new sustainable markets in net zero products and services that will stimulate private investment over the coming years.

1.2.13 For example, to support the shift away from petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, we are investing £30 million in an electric vehicle charging network, and we have extended our low carbon transport loans to used vehicles. Combined, these measures not only make investing in an electric vehicle more economically viable for Scottish households, but also provide a level of certainty to the private sector that demand for ULEV-supporting infrastructure will continue to grow, raising the expected return on these investments and crowding in additional finance.

1.2.14 The establishment of the Scottish National Investment Bank, and its capitalisation of £2 billion of public money over the next ten years, is central to driving net zero market growth and mobilising private investment for the transition. The Bank’s primary mission will be to support a just transition to net zero by 2045, and will work with public, private and third sector partners to channel and crowd in investment. In addition to co-investment, the Bank will also actively seek to develop and introduce further mechanisms to leverage its available capital and catalyse even greater investment in the Scottish economy.

1.2.15 The Scottish National Investment Bank

The Scottish National Investment Bank launched on 23 November 2020. Working in tandem with the business community and public sector partners, the Bank will be at the forefront of shaping an economy with the transition to a net zero economy, fair work, and inclusive growth at its heart. The Scottish Government has committed to capitalising the Bank with £2 billion over 10 years.

As a mission-based investor, the Bank is in a unique position to influence the direction of Scotland’s economic recovery and growth. The Bank’s primary mission is to support Scotland’s climate change ambitions, ensuring the highest possible environmental, economic and social return on its investments. This work will contribute to Scotland’s Green New Deal, kick-starting investment and building the momentum needed to make a significant impact on reducing emissions and guaranteeing new, high quality jobs. The Bank will align with, complement, and wherever appropriate, consolidate existing investment activities provided by the Scottish Government and its agencies.

The Bank’s missions are:

  • Net Zero Mission: Achieving a Just Transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
  • Place Mission: Extending equality of opportunity through improving places by 2040.
  • People Mission: Harnessing innovation to enable our people to flourish by 2040.

1.2.16 We are also supporting the development of Scotland’s green project pipeline and promoting this to investors. The first phase of the Green Investment Portfolio, launched in September 2020, identified ten low carbon investment opportunities with around £1.16 billion of commercially viable propositions. This portfolio is built to expand, taking in both private sector-led opportunities around technology, industrial sites and energy generation, as well as public sector led projects around heat networks, electrification of transport, and the use of hydrogen where coordination is needed around supply, demand and regulation. Our aim remains to find, structure and present £3 billion worth of projects to market in 3 years.

1.2.17 In spring 2021, we will publish a Capital Investment Plan which aims to build market certainty in Scotland’s net zero transition. The Capital Investment Plan will build on sector climate change policies and set out investable projects. It will link these to attracting capital and inward investment into Scotland’s future competitive opportunities around infrastructure, innovation and net zero. Proactively supporting the greening of the financial sector, including by mainstreaming the EU and UK green investment taxonomies and Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting standards, will also be key to reinforcing Scotland’s status as a place for global green investment.

Case Study: Mossend International Railfreight Park (MIRP)

Scotland is inviting investment into a new Green Investment Portfolio. The range of opportunities within this portfolio will expand over time to include £3 billion of projects ready for green finance investment, covering sectors from environmentally sustainable commercial real estate to low emission transportation and green energy.

Mossend International Railfreight Park is one of 10 market-ready projects featured in the Green Investment Portfolio seeking investment.

A major expansion of Scotland’s national railfreight terminal, MIRP is a game-changer for Scotland’s railfreight infrastructure and environmental ambitions, and will bring extensive commercial opportunities. MIRP will also take HGV freight off Scotland’s roads onto rail, directly contributing to the green agenda.

Additional investment in PD Stirling’s Mossend facility will drive ambition to be a leading provider of low carbon logistics, putting Scotland at the forefront of a Europe-wide network and transforming our current logistics system.

David Stirling, Director of Mossend International Railfreight Park operator Peter D Stirling Ltd, said:

“We are fully supportive of the Scottish Government’s target to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 and indeed are contributing to this by providing Scotland’s largest zero-carbon, multi-modal rail freight park. The Green Investment Portfolio is a valuable tool to help us reach out to global investors.

“With future plans including Scotland’s first 775-metre electric rail terminal, we hope to benefit many local businesses as well as those based across Europe and beyond.”

Skills and training for good, green jobs

1.2.18 At the centre of our green recovery is a commitment to increase the number of good, green jobs and to enable people to access these jobs, including through training and reskilling. This is fundamental to the National Mission for Jobs set out in the 2020-2021 Programme for Government. This approach builds on the recommendations from the Sustainable Renewal Advisory Group, the CCC and the Just Transition Commission while also responding to stakeholder calls for jobs to feature prominently in the green recovery and a just transition to net zero.

1.2.19 The 2020-2021 Programme for Government set out the key interventions that the Scottish Government is taking to drive labour market demand for green jobs; for example, our £1.6 billion invested in transforming heat and energy efficiency of buildings will stimulate 3,000-5,000 jobs in the coming years. We also committed to a £100 million Green Jobs Fund to help businesses which provide sustainable, low carbon products and services to grow and support green jobs. As part of the national mission for jobs[16], immediate supply-side interventions have been launched and quickly scaled to support those at risk of unemployment or labour market scarring. This includes the £25 million National Transition Training Fund, which will support those losing their jobs due to COVID-19 to retrain to sustainable careers, and the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee that includes support for green apprenticeships and careers advice.

1.2.20 To further align the skills system with the demand resulting from a green recovery and net zero transition, the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan has been published alongside this Climate Change Plan update. This Action Plan sets out the growing evidence base for the kinds of skills and jobs needed to deliver a just transition to net zero, as well as the actions we are taking in the short and medium term to support these green jobs and skills. It sets out immediate actions to support a green recovery by aligning retraining and skills programmes with immediate green job opportunities. In addition the Action Plan sets out longer term actions to enable the skills system to become more responsive to net zero labour market demands, supporting individuals and employers to access the information and skills or retraining support they need to thrive in the transition to net zero.

1.2.21 Key to delivering our ambitious climate change targets and ensuring a just transition is how we transition Scotland’s labour market in coming years. The Scottish labour market has world-leading expertise in industries, such as oil and gas, that will be critical to delivering net zero solutions like offshore renewable energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen, all of which are opportunities in which Scotland is globally competitive. We are working with industry to plan how to support workforces to transition to these new job opportunities, ensuring no one is left behind.

1.2.22 The green recovery offers an opportunity to accelerate that retraining and bring much needed skills and labour into sectors scaling up for the transition to net zero, including where there is immediate demand for skills and labour such as in construction, land-based roles in woodland creation and peatland restoration, and in energy. We will also lay the foundations to support people to shift to opportunities within sectors as part of the transition, such as ecotourism, green finance, project management, law and teaching/training. We must consider where these opportunities are geographically and how to support places to create good, green job opportunities, as the Energy Transition Fund is doing in the North East of Scotland. We must ensure everyone can access these jobs and the training and skills support they need. This means individuals from a wide range of backgrounds having the opportunity to develop careers and access good, green jobs, and ensuring that women, single parents, people with disabilities and people from minority ethnic communities are particularly considered.

1.2.23 Younger generations are at risk of being particularly impacted by the economic downturn from COVID-19. We will do all we can to prevent long-term scarring in this regard and want to help young people go on to reliable, rewarding career pathways. This generation is alive to the dangers of climate change and has the potential to supercharge our transition to net zero. Through initiatives such as the Young Person’s Guarantee, we will make sure they are able to access green job opportunities, providing them with a sustainable, resilient future.

Building our resilience as part of a green recovery

1.2.24 The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the importance of embedding resilience and security into our society and economy; this is also essential for our green recovery. Whilst reducing emissions towards net zero is the focus of the Climate Change Plan update, the Scottish Government also recognises the wider importance of preparing for the climate changes which are already taking place. We are already seeing warming in Scotland, with more extreme weather events, increased rainfall, and rising sea levels. As a nation we must adapt to the changes caused by climate change and ensure that we are prepared for the future.

1.2.25 Adaptation and resilience are therefore also key components of our green recovery from COVID-19. In the 2020-2021 Programme for Government we committed to investing an extra £150 million for flood risk management over the next five years (in addition to the £42 million we spend annually), and £12 million in coastal change adaptation to help us adapt to the threat of sea level rise and protect our natural coastal defences from erosion. Adaptation investment is also a key driver of economic growth and jobs across Scotland and presents opportunities for Scotland to attract inward investment into this area.

1.2.26 Adaptation is key to a just transition as we know the impacts of climate change impact the poorest and most vulnerable in society first and most acutely. Ensuring we are planning and taking action to adapt to the impacts of climate change is vital in mitigating the risks to people and businesses and ensuring a just transition.

Positive Behaviour Change

1.2.27 The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s lives and livelihoods have been enormously difficult. The restrictions on travel, work, and leisure necessary to control the virus have been extremely challenging for us all. One unexpected consequence of these restrictions has been to show us some examples of what a net zero future might look like and the benefits of that future. For example, research between March and May 2020 shows that there was a marked drop in air pollution[17], as well as an uptake in active travel[18], and that across the UK there was a reduction in food waste as households chose to cook more meals at home[19].

1.2.28 In its green recovery advice, the CCC recommended that actions that maintain these positive behaviours in the long-term are prioritised as part of a green recovery[20]. In doing so we will consider the impacts of behaviour change on different groups to avoid unintended consequences as part of delivering a just transition. This document therefore sets out the policy measures that we will introduce to embed positive changes, making them the easy and obvious choice as well as the green choice.

1.2.29 Our approach recognises that behaviours are interlinked and context-dependent, and takes account of all of the factors that shape people’s lifestyles: the social, material, and individual. By considering the contextual factors influencing behaviours, we are more likely to implement policies and interventions which are effective and successful.

1.2.30 It is important to recognise that individuals also drive societal change not only through specific behaviours, but also via acceptance and adoption of low-carbon technologies and support for policies. Our Draft Public Engagement Strategy, published alongside this update, sets out how we will continue to engage with citizens in developing and implementing climate policy that has widespread support and encourages action.

Place-based approach

1.2.31 “Place” is where people, location and resources combine to create a sense of identity and purpose. It is at the heart of addressing the needs of communities and realising their potential. In order to prioritise place and local communities, and to encourage better collaboration and community involvement in decision-making, the Scottish Government and COSLA have adopted the “Place Principle”[21]. This principle underlines a commitment to work with local communities in order to improve the lives of people, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and create more successful places.

1.2.32 We know that people and communities, particularly those experiencing disadvantage and inequality, face complex and often inter-related challenges. A place-based approach must therefore be at the heart of delivering a green recovery and a just transition to net zero. We are committed to working closely with those communities and organisations in areas that need change, are undergoing change or are affected by change.

1.2.33 Rethinking how our places are lived in, planned, delivered and adapted will help to futureproof our villages, towns, cities and regions from the more extreme and costly impacts of climate change. The development of low carbon and resilient places across Scotland, for example through 20 minute neighbourhoods, will provide ready access to the facilities for our everyday lives, significantly reducing private car dependency and increase walking cycling and public transport use, and supporting the well-being economy. We will support and learn from those places across Scotland which are already taking the lead in bringing together the key ingredients to create new ways of living and working locally; and in 2021 we will begin to share lessons from several key demonstrator locations, to promote good practice, facilitate conversations, and offer resources and a route map for other places pursue their own climate change goals.

1.2.34 Our Place Based Investment Programme will be implemented in 2021. This will bring together investments in localities, streamlining their delivery and increasing their collective impact. It will provide a framework for ensuring that how we invest in places to deliver national priorities is also framed by local characteristics, needs and opportunities. We will assess the totality of investments’ impact on improving the circumstances of peoples’ lives, and on key priorities such as reaching net zero emissions. We will build on the good work of communities and their partners on the ground to re-think our places with pace and ambition, To do this we will need to make best use of public resources now, redesign how and where assets and services are provided tomorrow, and facilitate behaviour change for the future.

1.2.35 We will establish a new £50 million Vacant & Derelict Land Investment Programme in recognition that sustained investment and effort is needed to unlock persistent vacant and derelict land for appropriate reuses, and that we should prioritise such sites when seeking opportunities to develop the built environment and tackle climate change. In turn, this will promote the health, wellbeing, and resilience of communities across Scotland, particularly in deprived areas where the blight of vacant and derelict land is most prevalent.

1.2.36 As well as the National Planning Framework 4, new regional spatial strategies and local development plans can guide our future development and help to deliver infrastructure in a way that responds to the challenges of climate change. Established tools such as the Place Standard and emerging local place plans will provide communities with the scope to set out how they see their places develop and improve in the future. Meanwhile, our commitment to working collaboratively across sectors, portfolios and partners to nurture 20 minute neighbourhoods will continue to prioritise quality of life and health, as well as our net zero ambitions.

1.2.37 Further information on the cross-cutting opportunities for the planning system and National Planning Framework 4 to support green recovery are outlined in Part 2 of this Plan update.

1.2.38 We are also aware that rural and island economies are facing particular pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, given their greater reliance on micro and small businesses and self-employment, as well as availability of access to both export markets and domestic food service markets. Our approach to a green recovery, and the Place Principle, will ensure that we work together with rural and island communities to collectively protect and deliver thriving, resilient communities.

Graph showing the GWh of electricity generated from renewable sources each year from 2000 to 2019, with breakdown of how it was generated.

Community and Place-based Climate Change Action Key

1. Warmer Greener Homes for Shetland: This project, run by Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau, is helping Shetlanders to tackle fuel poverty and the climate crisis. Individuals are offered free advice on improving home energy efficiency and opportunities are highlighted for installing renewables.

2. Thurso Grows: Thurso Community Development Trust’s Thurso Grows project runs a thriving community garden which educates about food growing and assists the community to reduce food miles. The project also offers support to help the residents of Thurso learn more about how to reduce food waste and the links between food choices and climate change.

3. Appleseed - Grow your own future: Applecross Community Company is developing a community allotment to promote local growing, recycling, healthy eating and minimisation of food waste in Applecross

4. Swapping Normal: The SHRUB Coop’s project offers free support to help Edinburgh residents to rethink their relationship with waste. They run a Swapshop and Food Sharing Hub in their Zero Waste Hub, plus reuse collections, repair workshops and carbon literacy events.

5. VeloCommunities: This project, run by Bike for Good, offers free support to enable people in west and south Glasgow to reduce their use of carbon emitting modes of transport, and instead cycle for short local journeys. Project activities include free access to cycle training, increased access to bikes, route planning rides, bike maintenance training and more.

6. One Planet Forth Valley: This community project, led by the Central Scotland Regional Equality Council, offers free support to help people from the Forth Valley to tackle waste and understand more about how purchasing decisions impact on climate change.

7. Peebles CAN - The Road to Carbon Reduction: Peebles CAN (Community Action Network) are offering free support to people in Peebles and the surrounding area through carbon literacy education and community activities such as Skill Shares, active travel courses, Eco driving courses and community growing workshops.*

8. Climate Cafes: There is a network of Climate Cafes across Scotland, for example in Pitlochry, Birnam & Dunkeld, North Berwick and Aberdeen. Climate Cafes are informal, open spaces where members of the community can come together to have a cup of tea or coffee, chat and take climate action.

9. North Ayrshire Community Wealth Building Strategy: North Ayrshire launched their “build back better” strategy in May 2020, including an emphasis on utilising public land and assets to tackle climate change.

10. 10k raingardens: The 10,000 Raingardens for Scotland campaign is designed to promote and encourage the use of raingardens as a sustainable and natural way to manage water, particularly in urban areas. It will also support the creation of wildlife friendly, accessible greenspace, reduce pollution, and provide attractive places for people to visit. Over 950 raingardens have been recorded so far across Scotland in a range of settings from schools, to residential areas, offices, shopping centres, hotels, to Waverley Station.

11. Meadowbank and North Maryhill - social housing and green infrastructure: These social housing projects are exploring how green roofs could create a sustainable neighbourhood. Green roofs can help to reduce the energy costs of cooling buildings in the Summer, as well as insulation in Winter. They provide greenspace for people and wildlife, and can also slow run-off of rainfall and surface water, helping the neighbourhood cope with extreme rainfall events.

12. Coire Glas Pumped Hydro Electric Storage scheme: This would be the first large-scale pumped storage scheme to be developed in the UK for more than 30 years, and has a potential capacity of up to 1500 MW1500MW. Both the construction and operation of this site will bring significant investment and associated job creation to the Scottish Highlands.

13. City of Edinburgh Carbon Scenario Tool: The Council has collaborated with the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation to develop an open source quantitative emissions calculation tool that enables the Council to better understand the emissions consequences of its decisions across a range of topics. Work has been commissioned to develop this tool further for all Scottish Cities as part of the Scottish Cities Alliance.

14. Grangemouth Future Industry Board: The Grangemouth Future Industry Board (GFIB) has been established both in recognition of the economic strength of the industrial cluster, and in recognition of the fact that it accounts for 30% of industrial emissions in Scotland. A specific focus on Grangemouth is therefore key to delivering a just transition, and to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.

GFIB activity will take a ‘Team Scotland’ approach, co-ordinating public sector initiatives for sustainable economic activity across the Grangemouth industrial cluster, whilst supporting its transition to our low-carbon future. Future-proofing this key industrial hub for net-zero will help support a vibrant and sustainable future for the locality, and in turn significantly contribute to Scotland’s decarbonisation efforts as a whole.

* Projects 1-7 are some examples of projects funded through the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF). The full list of currently funded CCF projects is available here:

1.3. Conclusion

1.3.1 This Climate Change Plan update is the next step in delivering a green recovery from COVID-19. The policies set out here are aimed at driving economic demand in key net zero markets, providing opportunities for Scottish businesses and supply chains, and creating demand for good, green jobs now and in the future. By acting now to deliver a green recovery, we can set Scotland on a pathway to meeting our ambitious climate change targets in a way that is just and delivers opportunities for all.

2.0.1 While a sectoral approach is useful in capturing the nuances of each sector, sectors cannot be treated in isolation. There are clear synergies and interdependencies across the sectors in Part 3 of this Plan update; what happens in one sector can have a knock-on effect upon another, and so we need to take a holistic, coordinated approach.

2.0.2 This section summarises some of the ways in which the Scottish Government is taking a cross-cutting, systems-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, harnessing opportunities for economic development, inclusive growth, jobs and wellbeing. It therefore brings together some of the material from the sector chapters (Part 3 of the Plan update) and sets this out under a series of cross-cutting themes. Many of the actions in this section span beyond the period covered by this Plan update, and our next Climate Change Plan, to be published by early 2025, will include further details of our coordinated approach to policy-making.



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