In today’s Herald newspaper Paul Wedgwood of the Carbon Trust praises the world-leading legally binding climate targets in Scotland’s Climate Change Act.
And he says: “Action and leadership by the public sector will be the key to unlocking the scale of transformation required to create a sustainable Scotland by 2050.”
Yet he highlights that, of the recommended measures in carbon management plans developed by the Carbon Trust with 150 public sector bodies, two thirds have still to be implemented.
In a recent report the Carbon Trust identified some of the major barriers, including that senior leadership was not sufficiently engaged and incentivised, along with a shortage of skilled staff and resources.
We have campaigned with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) for the Scottish Government to fully fund its climate plan, the RPP2. And we have pointed out that work is needed to ensure that the strong business case for action is understood by senior public sector leaders.
With the STUC and others UNISON has called for Just Transition policies including a comprehensive low carbon industrial strategy. Scotland needs a transitional skills strategy and a green workplaces strategy.
And much more must be done on transport. SCCS members are calling for a doubling to £40m of the Scottish Government budget for active travel. Walking and cycling are good for health and will help tackle obesity and general fitness.
Many other important areas, including energy efficiency and zero waste policies are key to Scotland hitting its climate targets. The first two were missed. Let’s all work to ensure we hit the rest. Climate change is an urgent health and safety issue for the planet.
The public sector’s role is crucial and is recognised in the Act, through the Public Bodies Duties, with guidance published to support public bodies in fulfilling these.
Paul Wedgwood concludes that “with the right drive, investment and support in future decades, Scotland will become a low-carbon leader and …could have one of the most efficient and modern public sectors in the world.”