Media statement in response to the Programme for Government

  • 08 Sep 2021
  • Press Release

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland reacts to the new Programme for Government

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has outlined the new Programme for Government for 2021-22.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) a coalition of over 60 organisations from across Scottish society campaigning together on climate change welcomed the following announcements and looks forward to seeing them delivered. 

  • Invest £1.8bn for decarbonisation of domestic heating.
  • Commitment to spend £320m on cycling and active travel by 2024/25, bringing spending to 10% of the transport budget.
  • Everyone under the age of 22 will be eligible for free bus travel.
  • Commitment to implement the recommendations of the Just Transition Commission, to build a net zero economy that is fair for all, and in the coming year start to publish Just Transition plans for every sector and region.
  • Double the Climate Justice Fund to £6 million per year, providing £24 million across this Parliament.


SCCS wants to see demonstrable actions from the Scottish Government to deliver these, and the other steps necessary, to meet our targets for both emission reduction and climate justice around the world.

"The First Minister suggests that the Government wishes to show leadership in the climate crisis, and that it will ‘lead by example’. This is a welcome ambition but, as the Programme itself says, we ‘must move beyond rhetoric and target setting to demonstrate the ambition the world needs’. Having missed the last three annual emissions reduction targets, it is vital that the Government makes rapid progress in delivering real action. To be a credible champion of climate action at COP26, the Scottish Government must get firmly on track to deliver all future targets ‒ there can be no more excuses or delay. Progress will be measured by how fast emissions fall, not by ambitious long-term promises."
Tom Ballantine
Chair of SCCS


Some of the key measures announced indicate progress on issues that we have been campaigning about, but this must be accompanied by further steps:


"The Programme for Government includes significant plans to enable more people to cycle, walk and wheel in Scotland. We now need to see speedy progress to develop and implement the policies included, to ensure this funding boost is spent effectively and leads to a real green transport revolution ‒ so that emissions in the biggest emitting sector are reduced."
Jim Densham
Campaigns and policy manager - Scotland, Cycling UK


"We’re delighted that the long-awaited Good Food Nation bill will be introduced this year. Along with the new Agriculture Bill, a commitment to doubling organic land, an expanded community land fund, support for land-based entrepreneurs and the ‘local food for everyone’ strategy, this opens the door to building a food system in Scotland which truly works for people and the planet."
Pete Ritchie
Director of Nourish Scotland

Climate Justice

"Global climate justice will only come about through swift action, now ‒ with deep cuts in emissions by rich countries and the transfer of finance to countries in the Global South which are disproportionately suffering the impacts of the climate crisis. It’s good to see the Scottish Government acknowledging that the time for rhetoric is over, and that ambitious, funded action is what is now needed. We’ll be watching carefully to see that the Scottish Government shows global leadership in their role as European co-chair of the Under 2 Coalition, and mobilise increased climate action from states and regions ahead of and during the COP26 summit. The commitment to increasing the Climate Justice Fund is also to be welcomed, but it’s important that this money is additional to any existing commitments and is raised through taxing high emitters. The Fund should increase in real terms across the course of the parliament and, of course, gets to the people who need it most."
Liz Murray
Head of Scottish campaigns for Global Justice Now


However, there are areas not included in the Programme for Government where more action is needed, for example on marine carbon.

"It is disappointing to not see any mention of measures to properly safeguard and enhance Scotland's significant marine carbon stock. Our blue carbon stores are estimated to be larger than Scotland’s peatlands and forests and we need to see a strategy for sustainable stewardship of our seas as soon as possible."
Phil Taylor
Head of Policy and Operations at the Open Seas Trust


We are in a climate emergency, and urgent action is needed, now, to reduce emissions.

More details of how and when the various actions and commitments will be delivered are urgently needed.

We expectantly await an updated Climate Change Plan, and look forward to seeing more detail on this during the first half of the Parliamentary session.

Notes to Editors

The Programme for Government is published every year at the beginning of September and sets out the actions that the Scottish Government will take in the coming year and beyond. It includes the legislative programme for the next parliamentary year to drive forward change across all levels of society. ​

For media requests and interviews contact:

Fiona Hooker
Communications and Campaigns Officer, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
Email: | Tel: 07724 840620

About Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change.
We believe that the Scottish Government should take bold action to tackle climate change, with Scotland delivering our fair share of action in response to the Paris Agreement and supporting climate justice around the world.
Our coalition members range from environment, faith and development organisations to trade and student unions and community groups.
Our work is led by our members and is normally focussed on lobbying decision makers in Scotland, but we also work on UK-wide campaigns when appropriate with our sister organisations in England (The Climate Coalition) and Wales (Stop Climate Chaos Cymru).