Civic and business leaders publish 12-point plan for Scotland to address climate emergency
A group of civic and business leaders, including representatives from Scottish Land & Estates, Changeworks and Scottish Renewables, has called on the Scottish Government to champion healthy diets, fix land use and target low-carbon vehicles and buildings to address the climate emergency.
The Climate Emergency Response Group has this week (26 August) issued a 12-point recommendation plan as to how the Scottish Government can implement responses to climate change in its upcoming Programme for Government, expected to be published on 3 September 2019.
The main points of the plan include calls for: the mobilisation of £11bn in annual public procurement to spur innovation to address the climate emergency; a £100m Agricultural Modernisation Fund; the creation of four new Green City Region Deals; and a policy to ensure that all city centres in the country are vehicle-emissions free by 2030.
Other recommendations in the plan are for guidance on climate-friendly diets; the use of regional land to combat climate change; delivering net-zero homes and buildings by 2045 and EPC Band C by 2030; create a public-interest company to invest and operate carbon capture and storage infrastructure; create a Scottish Heat Pump Sector Deal; finalise plans for how the nation will generate enough clean energy to meet net-zero and dedicate the Scottish National Investment Bank to delivering on the climate emergency.
Scottish Renewables’ chief executive Claire Mack 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 Group claims that the measures are required to avoid the global breaching of 1.5C of warming, which according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), would create irreversible damage to the environment and societies.
In May 2019, the Scottish Government announced plans to amend its Climate Change Bill and commit to a legally binding target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest – leading the rest of the UK. Amendments to the Climate Change Bill have already been lodged, which call on the nation to reduce emissions by 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2040.
Following that announcement, Edinburgh City Council (ECC) pledged to ensure that the city operates on a "net-zero" carbon basis by 2030.
NHS National Services Scotland’s head of energy and sustainability and chair of the Sustainable Scotland Network, Kathryn Dapré, added: “This set of recommendations for action to respond to the climate emergency are ready to be implemented now and have broad support.
“These actions will slash emissions and, importantly, also contribute significantly to other many social, economic and wider environmental benefits – for example, improved public health, creating jobs, alleviating fuel poverty, reducing air pollution, and making our towns and cities better places to live for everyone.”