This document was developed at a critical time for the achievement of climate change targets, with a clear political recognition of the need for urgent action, but not enough clarity about what should be done, by whom, and how it should be funded and supported.
This period from 2023 through to 2027 will largely determine whether we meet our 2030 targets and beyond. We need to be laying the groundwork for every sector of Scottish society to begin to turn a corner and ratchet down their emissions. We need to highlight the key areas of current capital investment required to build the framework for society and industry to transition. We need to flag up the likely jobs and skills shortages which are obstructing progress. And we need to see a renewed focus on meaningful action; not rhetoric and empty net zero commitments. All of this must be achieved in a way which is genuinely just.
Done well, and actioned urgently, will allow Scotland to demonstrate moral, practical and academic leadership, using that leadership to influence others around the world to follow suit. Without all of this, our targets will become increasingly unachievable, and sector after sector will fail to deliver against its obligations. In addition, businesses and organisations will increasingly struggle to operate successfully as they fall foul of ratcheting environmental requirements or are sued for non-compliance.
This collection of ideas has been a huge undertaking, tackled in the spirit of an emergency. It has already helped to galvanise and enthuse a large swathe of the NGO sector, and attempts to bring as many solutions into one place as possible to get the broadest possible support from the whole of the NGO community; including unions and faith groups through to environment groups, humanitarian agencies, health bodies and everyone in between. We will continue to work to grow this broad support. This is vital, as without consistency and clarity of solutions, Scotland will struggle to succeed.
This clarity not only drives credible action but it can also drive investment and innovation over the longer term. Otherwise we risk well intentioned actions frantically spinning in isolation, but failing to join up and therefore failing to create momentum.
The next steps for this work are therefore vital. The collection of ideas is a living breathing document, not a door stop. A clear advocacy plan will encourage its political adoption. We will engage members of the coalition and wider society to win public and popular support for the proposed actions. Politicians cannot do it all on their own and will not do it unless they feel that there is public backing for many of these measures, irrespective of them being ‘the right thing to do’. A long term public engagement strategy will be developed. We will identify gaps in consensus and understanding of the appropriate solutions and these will be fed into a research framework to seek academic support and funding to further our knowledge and critical gap sectors.
We will initiate a conversation on the back of this collection of ideas which looks at the facilitating legislation and frameworks that are needed to achieve these policies. This document is all about joining up efforts more effectively, building a robust future in every sector, spotlighting the best and most successful action, encouraging and facilitating each sector to make a difference and helping to guide investment and innovation.
This collection of ideas should therefore be viewed as the urgent continuation of a process and should underpin the efforts across society, and within the NGO community, for the next five to ten years.