1.1 This report responds to a request by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, asking for advice in relation to a green recovery from the current pandemic. We have been asked specifically to consider the green recovery through a just transition lens, building on the work of other groups such as the Committee on Climate Change.
1.2 In this report, we add to the consensus calling for an economic recovery from COVID-19 that is consistent with Scotland’s climate ambition, but with an increased emphasis on equity. We have an opportunity to reset our progress towards a net-zero economy in a way that also actively tackles inequality and promotes regional cohesion.
1.3 We have spoken to a range of stakeholders and also discussed the recovery with key groups such as the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery and Climate Emergency Response Group. We have identified a number of Hot Spot areas that merit particular attention:
- Young people are especially at risk
- Patterns of transport use have changed, but there is great uncertainty about the permanence of these changes
- There is an accelerated transition unfolding in the oil and gas sector
- Some rural sectors and regions are especially hard hit.
1.4 We have used three criteria to assess our recommendations for immediate action:
- Do they set Scotland on a pathway to net-zero?
- Do they ensure the benefits of climate change action are shared widely, while the costs do not unfairly burden those least able to pay, or whose livelihoods are directly or indirectly at risk?
- Will they contribute to a just and fair economic recovery for Scotland, once the immediate emergency, created by COVID-19, has subsided?
1.5 We have produced a number of specific recommendations for immediate action that we believe can help build a fairer, greener economy.
- Boost investment in warmer homes
- Back buses and support the supply chain
- Help the rural economy by helping Scotland’s nature
- Maintain and create new jobs for oil and gas workers
- Align skills development – for young and old – with the net-zero transition
- Give a clear sense of direction and attach conditions to funding
1.6 The range and scale of interventions required to ensure a just transition will require sustained action and long-term planning. We will address the longer time frame when we produce our full report next year. Our aim in this report is to focus on practical recommendations to shape urgent action for the coming months.
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