Holyrood's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee launches inquiry into a Green Recovery

29.06.2020

Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has launched an inquiry into how Scotland can ensure that a green, just and resilient recovery is central in our response to the social and economic challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The inquiry will focus on identifying the principles, opportunities, key actions for change, immediate priorities, leadership and governance needed to underpin an effective green recovery, as well as the potential barriers to implementation. 

The Committee has issued a call for views to help inform its inquiry over the coming weeks. 

Gillian Martin MSP, Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, said; 

“The global pandemic has been responsible for creating immediate challenges across almost every aspect of modern day living. But pre-COVID-19, we already faced the biggest and most immediate challenge of all – Climate Change. We have proven that, as a nation, we can adapt our behaviours and thinking for the greater good, so it makes complete sense that within this mindset, we grab the opportunity to change our habits and thinking to bring us out of this crisis in a green and sustainable way. A reframed pathway will help us meet our climate change targets for 2030, 2040 and 2045 at the same time as creating a stronger, cleaner and more resilient economy.” 

“If you have views on how we should progress from here, our Committee would love to hear from you. You may be an environmental expert; belong to a third sector organisation or campaign group; local authority or non-departmental public body or be a member of the public. All of your views are important and help us reach the conclusions we take to the Scottish Parliament. 

The Committee would particularly welcome views on the following questions–

  • Do the principles of sustainable development* (Webpage Annex A) and those proposed by the UK Committee on Climate Change**, provide a comprehensive framework for guiding an effective green recovery in Scotland?
  • What are the key barriers to delivering a green recovery (within your sector and / or community)?
  • What key policies, actions and immediate priorities are needed to deliver a green recovery (within your sector and / or community)?
  • How should the 2021/22 Budget support a green and sustainable recovery and avoid locking in carbon?
  • What funding is needed to deliver a green and sustainable recovery?

The closing date for responses is Friday 7 August 2020. To respond to this inquiry, please find the committee’s call for evidence here - https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/115472.aspx 

Background

In April 2019, the First Minister declared a climate emergency. Since then, the Scottish Government has set a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2045, and the Just Transition Commission has made interim recommendations for “growing an inclusive, net-zero economy”. Following the adoption of the net-zero target, and testing interim targets of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, the First Minister undertook to update the Climate Change Plan (CCP) within six months of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill receiving Royal Assent on 31 October 2019. 

Before the COVID-19 health crisis, a number of parliamentary committees had agreed a joint approach to scrutinising the Climate Change Plan (CCP) update which was expected in April 2020. They were:

However, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform wrote to the Committee on 1 April 2020 to advise that the Scottish Government would be re-considering its plans for the updated CCP as part of a green recovery from COVID-19 and that it had requested advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on this. The CCC has since set out its view on the principles** that should underpin a net-zero recovery and highlighted some priorities for action. 

Recently, the ECCLR Committee discussed the parameters of a green recovery with the Cabinet Secretary on 15 June 2020. On 16 June 2020, the Cabinet Secretary announced before Parliament that she hoped to lay a revised CCP ‘in December to align with the Scottish budget, if possible. The recast plan will set out a credible pathway, as part of a green recovery, to meet Scotland’s world-leading climate targets over the period to 2032.’ 

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