Rural and Environment
Scotland’s Climate Assembly publishes interim report
I have always been clear that our journey to net-zero must be a shared national endeavour. We all have a responsibility to help end Scotland’s contribution to climate change – just as we are all entitled to share the many benefits a net-zero society will deliver.
Scotland’s Climate Assembly exemplifies how we are putting people at the heart of policy making, by consulting, engaging and involving citizens in decision-making.
I am grateful to the Assembly for its interim report, published today, which shows support for political leaders to act with urgency and take the strong and difficult decisions needed for Scotland to become a net-zero nation. I am particularly grateful to the over 100 people who gave up their time to represent their fellow citizens and provide true insight into how we tackle climate change in a fair way that puts people at the heart of the transition.
The Assembly’s interim report calls for immediate collective action (from all levels of society) and is underpinned by ambitious and wide-ranging goals, covering issues such as housing, waste, transport and taxation. The full report will follow in the next parliamentary term. I expect it to be carefully considered before a comprehensive, meaningful, and cross-Government response in line with the requirements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act is given.
The Scottish Government has worked at pace and with increasingly-bold action to ensure Scotland’s just transition to net-zero. The 2021/22 Budget delivers record-breaking capital investment to tackle climate change and accelerate on-the-ground delivery of the policies and actions which must happen in order to end our contribution to climate change.
Our ambitious Climate Change Plan update, which sets us on a pathway to achieving our targets up to 2032 with more than 100 new policies and proposals to support Scotland’s green recovery and help deliver a just transition to net-zero, has now been finalised. Delivery of this is key to meeting our world-leading targets; we have already started making progress, but this is by no means the end of our journey. We will regularly review progress, providing an opportunity to consider the need for further action to complement and build on the policies and proposals included in the Climate Change Plan update.
Communities across the country have been impacted in so many ways by COVID-19, but are uniquely-placed to play a critical role in supporting our green recovery from the pandemic, and in shaping and driving forward climate action.
To provide support for communities to come together and take action that reflects local needs and circumstances, I am pleased to announce that we will fund the development of two Community Climate Action hubs – in the North Highlands and in the North East of Scotland – with the intention of developing a wider network of regional hubs. Each hub will help groups in their area take advantage of community funding opportunities, and ensure a joined-up approach is being taken to tackling climate change at a regional level
We will also work with Architecture and Design Scotland to deliver a network of Climate Action Towns, another commitment in our Programme for Government. This initiative will involve six small towns, in the first instance, providing them with support to develop local plans focused on climate action, as we aspire to giving everyone the means to have a say in how their local area should change as part of a fair and just net-zero transition.
Climate change remains the greatest challenge facing this planet. The eyes of the world will be on Scotland when Glasgow hosts COP26 later this year, providing the international community its best, perhaps only, chance to address it. We helped lead the world into the industrial age and it’s important we help lead the world into the net-zero age.