Scotland’s Climate Assembly’s eighth and final weekend session took place between the 4th and 6th of February 2022.
The Assembly is a group of over 100 citizens from all walks of life tasked with answering the question of how Scotland should change to tackle the Climate Emergency in a fair and effective way. It’s a “mini-Scotland”, with members that are broadly representative of the country in terms of age, gender, household income, ethnicity, geography, rurality, disability, and attitude towards climate change.
Over the course of eight weekends, Assembly members heard from over 100 speakers and spent more than 60 hours learning and deliberating the evidence, to find common ground on the assembly’s core question. The Assembly agreed 16 goals and 81 recommendations which were sent to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament in June 2021.
It was the first such body anywhere in the world to incorporate the views of children, who joined in as Climate Investigators with the Children’s Parliament and their 42 Calls to Action were included in the Assembly’s full report.
The main policy output from the final Assembly session, a Statement of Response from members assessing the Government’s own response to the Assembly’s recommendations, linked tackling the Climate Emergency to creating more engaged, happier, and healthier communities, and made specific reference to public sector procurement as a mechanism for leading positive change in Scotland.
The Assembly also challenged the Scottish Government to commit to annual check-ins, and outlined a scorecard system with 10 key performance indicators that could increase accountability around climate targets in Scotland and secure a legacy for the Assembly’s recommendations beyond its initial formal process.
Scotland’s Climate Assembly have called for the Scottish Government to go further with actions across a range of areas such as:
- low carbon procurement for public sector catering
- education on sustainable diets
- carbon labelling of products
- increasing public control of land
- retrofitting of homes to prevent fuel poverty
- higher taxes for frequent fliers
- banning single use plastics
- supporting people with low incomes in accessing public transportation.
Ahead of agreeing their response, the Assembly put questions to Patrick Harvey MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights, and Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work.
“We want the Scottish Government to create a scorecard for Scotland with ten key performance indicators (decided by independent experts) with clear numerical and measurable targets based on areas of greatest impact on climate change,” reads the Assembly’s statement.
“This information should be updated bi-annually in an easily accessible and understandable format, and published in a one-pager.”
“We strongly believe the Government can upscale their current commitments further to meet the ambitions of our recommendations and shorten their current timescales. Going forward we expect the Government to ensure that we can hold them accountable for this via an annual review.”
The Assembly’s statement calls on the Scottish Government to do more with its existing powers under the devolution settlement to tackle the climate emergency: “We believe that the Scottish Government has failed to test how far it can utilise existing powers to deliver and needs to do so.”
To find out more about Scotland’s Climate Assembly, and their Statement of Response, click here to visit their website.