A Vision for a Fairer, Greener 2045 – what a just transition might look like for Scotland
By 2045, a just transition to net zero will have delivered a fairer, greener Scotland.
This fairer, greener future has been driven by economic approaches that prioritise collective wellbeing: our net zero society doesn't view GDP as the sole measure of progress. Emissions and environmental considerations underpin all the decisions we take and we have worked hard to fully understand the impact that the decisions we made would have on workers, communities, places, nature and businesses. The rapid transformation of the 2020s and 2030s was used as an opportunity to invigorate local democracy and collaboration between business, trade unions, communities, academics, local and national governments and the third sector.
Our economy has a workforce employed in good, green jobs with Fair Work practices built in to support greater equality, diversity, security, and an effective voice for all workers. We are much better at understanding the environmental footprint associated with our behaviours. This means that consumers favour sustainable products. As a result, a thriving private sector demonstrates a wealth of innovative business models based on environmental sustainability and the fair, open and collaborative relationships with workers, supply chains, communities and the local environment. It is often the case that it makes sense to source the things we need more locally than we have in the past; for example, the food we eat is locally sourced and of high quality. We have ended the waste and throw-away culture of the past, and share our know-how with the world, improving both profits and sustainability.
Our homes are well insulated and renewably heated and powered. Public transport and active modes of travel are the norm, supplemented by zero emissions vehicles, where needed.
Decades of sustained investment in low carbon infrastructure and nature-based solutions by the public and private sectors have not only decarbonised our society but improved the quality of our lives and the vibrancy of our communities, and helped to address inequality experienced between postcodes and groups within society.
Our oil and gas infrastructure and highly skilled workforce have been at the forefront of a green energy revolution. Pipelines now carry green hydrogen to end-users, or take carbon to be stored in the North Sea. All of our energy needs are met by renewable sources and we export what we don't need. The strategic investments we made in digital infrastructure and skills have made Scotland a world leader in artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, both of which have been vital for industries ranging from farming and manufacturing to energy. These new technologies have also been vital for managing the impact of a changing climate.
Our approach to the mass roll-out of heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency will have removed poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty and wider actions to tackle the other drivers of fuel poverty will ensure we have eradicated it entirely. Our actions will also have contributed towards the eradication of child poverty.
The road to net zero has been eventful: there has been significant disruption to our lives and we've all needed to change our behaviours to get here. This has opened up many opportunities for our communities and businesses, but we have often been surprised by the impacts of climate change that had already been locked in by previous emissions; extreme weather events are common now, but we have ensured those communities and businesses most impacted have been supported and have been able to adapt. The scientific community have made it clear that we will continue to see those impacts for some time to come, but we are reassured because we have built resilience to climate change into our infrastructure, our approach to our environment, our financial institutions, and across our wider economy. We have been able to use our experiences to help those on the front-line of climate change and we are especially proud of our climate refugee programme, welcoming people displaced by climate change to make their lives in Scotland.
During our 2045 annual report on the wellbeing of Scotland we noted, with pride, that we have finished delivering our Just Transition Plans. The report reflected on the bold, innovative work undertaken in the decade from 2020 – 2030 and how our partnership approach helped us plan for and deliver a fairer, greener future. It challenged us to go even further as we continue to make sure Scotland is a wellbeing society, powered by a sustainable, inclusive economy.