4.1 A range of informed individuals and stakeholders took part in the consultation. They appeared to be engaged and knowledgeable about a huge array of matters relating to a just transition, including both the economic and social impacts of change and the groups who are likely to be affected. Respondents were also able to outline their vision and ambitions for a successful transition and the actions required to achieve this. Together, these responses provide a useful evidence base for the Just Transition Commission to draw upon when developing their final report.
4.2 Reflecting their expert knowledge and specific interests, respondents' perspectives and evidence spanned a range of complex issues which cannot be summarised succinctly. For more detail, readers are encouraged to look to specific chapters, and to individual responses where permission was granted for publication. Examples of best practice and additional evidence cited by respondents should also be considered alongside this report.
4.3 Key themes in the discussion of moving to net-zero were the opportunity for a radical shift in Scotland's economy to focus on new, green, sustainable jobs and industries, particularly renewable energy. However, the challenge of managing the move away from oil and gas and ensuring workers in fossil fuels industries are adequately supported and re-skilled was widely acknowledged. Many highlighted opportunities for improved transport, sustainable land management, and the development of a circular economy. However, concerns around entrenched business interests, costs and the pace of change were expressed.
4.4 The transition is seen as an opportunity to create a greener, healthier and fairer Scotland with a greater focus on wellbeing. Respondents highlighted that improvements to housing and more use of public transport and active travel have the potential to dramatically improve health and availability and use of green space in Scotland. The transition to net-zero was also seen to be an opportunity to build and support strong, resilient communities that could drive changes such as increasing local food production and adapting working practices.
4.5 A significant challenge will be transforming public attitudes and behaviours, which requires clear leadership and communication to create a shared sense of purpose. Several highlighted that COVID-19 has shown people in Scotland that they can make significant lifestyle changes and demonstrated the benefits of doing so - for example cleaner air, spending more time outdoors or with family, and more engagement with local communities. The Commission and the Scottish Government were encouraged to act boldly and with urgency. A huge range of proposals to achieve net-zero were shared, many of which represent a radical change in policy for the Scottish Government.
4.6 While the severe consequences of climate change and the importance of moving to net-zero was an ever-present theme, the significant challenges in ensuring a just transition were acknowledged, including the need to ensure that no one is left behind or disadvantaged through the process of change. Overall, the key message from those who participated in the consultation was that decarbonisation of the economy offers the opportunity for growth, innovation, improved wellbeing and a healthier, fairer society.
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