Climate change plan ‘must be key part of pandemic recovery’

MSPs have urged the Scottish Government to have a clear plan in place to tackle climate change.

Climate change plan ‘must be key part of pandemic recovery’ Getty Images
Recovery: MSPs say green recovery from coronavirus pandemic is neeeded.

Scotland should develop a route map setting out a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, MSPs have said.

Holyrood’s Climate Change Committee has urged the Government to have a clear plan in place to tackle climate change as part of the recovery.

In their Green Recovery report, the committee calls for a “bold” approach, with investment in environmental jobs and industries as well as low-carbon capital projects.

They recommend working alongside the UK Government to finance “a sufficiently large investment stimulus”.

Any route map should state clear timelines, responsibilities and a vision for action to tackle climate change, according to the report, while encouraging “a shift towards positive long-term behaviours”.

The report also calls for “fairness to be at the heart” of any economic plan, arguing the pandemic has further increased inequalities in society.

It states: “There is a recognition that the pandemic has reinforced existing income, socioeconomic, gender and minority ethnic status inequalities.

“Therefore justice, equity and fairness need to be at the heart of the transition.

“We need a just transition where everyone must be recognised and involved in the processes and conversations, the cost and benefits of the transition must be distributed fairly, and action must benefit future generations.”

Committee convener Gillian Martin said: “Through Covid, Scotland has seen first-hand how a coherent route map approach, combined with strong leadership, can affect the necessary change in our policies and behaviour and with the urgency needed.

“Scotland must use this impetus, and the opportunities presented in both the Budget 2021-22 and the Climate Change Plan update, to create a net-zero emissions economy.

“So much needs to be done and done now. We need to capture and lock-in positive behaviours, front-load investment in low-carbon solutions and build resilience through valuing nature more.

“We need to tackle the implementation gap, where solutions have already been identified but not applied, and deal with policy incoherence, where parts of Government, and the wider public sector, are not working collaboratively.

“Underpinning this, we must focus on people, innovation, skills and jobs.

“Financial support for a green recovery must also be significantly increased, front-loaded and be conditional on delivering national outcomes around the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

“Our committee took on board extensive evidence during the inquiry and our recommendations should provide a solid springboard for the swift action needed to deliver a truly green recovery for Scotland – a recovery where no-one is left behind.”

“Collaborative working across all sectors of society will be a vital part of a green recovery and this route map will play a crucial role in making that happen.”

Scottish Labour’s climate change spokeswoman Claudia Beamish said: “The committee was unanimous in its findings and Scottish Labour fully supports the plans.

“However, in order to action these key points with a just transition at its core, it must be long-term statutory and properly-funded.

“This is what Scottish Labour called for in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill last year and we are determined to see this acted on to help frame a just green recovery and steer a just path to net-zero for workers and communities.”