Group issues immediate 12-point plan to tackle Scotland’s climate emergency

A group of civic and business leaders has called on the Scottish Government to enhance building standards to deliver zero-carbon homes and accelerate Scotland’s energy efficiency retrofit scheme as part of a series of recommendations to ramp up its response to the climate emergency in its forthcoming Programme for Government.

Group issues immediate 12-point plan to tackle Scotland’s climate emergency

The Climate Emergency Response Group has developed a 12-point plan of the key actions that it said the Scottish Government needs to implement now if we’re to avoid breaching 1.5oC of warming, which would mean disaster for people and nature around the world.

The 12 actions are summarised as follows:

  • Mobilise the £11 billion of annual public procurement to support the product and service innovation the climate emergency response needs
  • Produce public guidance on sustainable, climate-friendly, healthy diets
  • A £100m Agricultural Modernisation Fund 
  • Make regional land use plans for maximising the potential of every part of Scotland’s land to contribute to the fight against climate change
  • Initiate four new Green City Region Deals
  • Signal that every one of Scotland’s city centres will be vehicle emission free by 2030
  • Establish a public-interest company to invest in and operate Carbon Capture and Storage infrastructure
  • Enhance building standards to deliver zero-carbon homes and buildings 
  • Accelerate Scotland’s energy efficiency retrofit scheme, using regulation and public funding to support almost all homes and buildings in Scotland to reach at least EPC Band C by 2030 and zero-carbon by 2045
  • Create a Scottish Heat Pump Sector Deal that provides clear long-term market signals for the accelerated installation of heat pumps in Scotland
  • Complete plans for how we generate the renewable electricity needed to reach net-zero climate emissions
  • Dedicate the Scottish National Investment Bank to delivering on the Climate Emergency.

The Climate Emergency Group brings together leaders and influencers from across different sectors in Scotland, spanning private, public sector, third sector, delivery organisations and membership bodies.

The group said that these actions can all be taken forward with urgency by ministers, are in line with the scale of the climate crisis we face and will help make Scotland a better place to live and work.

The Scottish Government has said its Programme for Government, which is expected to be published on September 3, will set out important further detail on Scotland’s declaration of a climate emergency, and the government’s response.

In a statement on the ‘The Global Climate Emergency - Scotland’s Response’ in May, cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, told the Scottish Parliament: “This Scottish Government, will be placing climate change at the heart of everything we do. I can confirm that it will be at the core of our next Programme for Government and Spending Review.”

The group’s members welcomed the First Minister’s commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland by 2045, and want to support the action that requires.

Claire Mack, chief executive, Scottish Renewables, said: “We are already witnessing the effects of climate change, and now is the moment when we must accelerate our response if we are to avoid the worst effects and secure the many social and economic benefits of moving to a climate-neutral economy. This is the time for us all to support strong changes to policy and programmes in response to the climate emergency, and this report sets out our initial recommendations for the Scottish Government’s leadership role.

“The adoption of these policies by the Scottish Government would demonstrate world-leading commitment, slashing our emissions and showing where the rest of the world can follow us.”

Teresa Bray, chief executive, Changeworks, said: “Scotland has a proud record of leading the way. We did so in the industrial revolution, now it is time for us to do so in the face of a climate emergency. The International Panel on Climate Change has said that we have just 12 years left to get ourselves on a pathway to avoid breaching 1.5 degrees of warming, a disaster for people and nature. That’s only 2,000 working days – an extreme time scale to accelerate action. But, as the actions we are recommending show, it is achievable and can be a huge social and economic opportunity for Scotland.” 

Daisy Narayanan, director of urbanism, Sustrans, said: “These actions will help everyone – individuals, communities and business – to adopt low carbon lifestyles and support a more prosperous society and economy. Transformations to make our cities more liveable, warm homes for all, low carbon diets and support to help farmers meet these new demands – these policies must be the next steps in a just transition to an economically successful and climate-friendly Scotland.”

Sarah-Jane Laing, executive director, Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Scotland’s land, and the people who care for and manage it, can play a vital role in Scotland’s climate emergency response. Tree planting, the restoration of peatlands and soils, and productive, efficient and sustainable agriculture, all offer long-term economic opportunities for Scotland’s rural areas. Supporting Scotland’s land managers and farmers with preparing for new opportunities and for the future must be a priority in the Scottish Government’s response to the climate emergency.”

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