The Scottish Greens, renowned for their robust stance on climate change and commitment to social equality, are ardently advocating for mechanisms that not only measure but also ensure a ‘Just Transition’ for North East Scotland. North East MSP Maggie Chapman voiced her support for the Measuring Just Transition report, recently put together by the University of Aberdeen’s Just Transition Lab. The report presents a solid roadmap that articulates the need for a community-centric and place-based approach to energy transition measurement.
The document anchors on the reality that a sustainable future goes beyond just navigating away from fossil fuels. It necessitates an integrated and sustainable travel network, and supporting the retraining of workers and acquisition of new skills for a green energy revolution. This harmonises with the essence of environmental justice — to ensure that as we turn the wheel towards a greener future, the brunt of transition doesn’t impact the marginalised communities unfairly and that they are instead empowered by the shift.
Chapman echoes the spirit of openness in the face of this critical juncture for Scotland. She highlights that while the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens have been proactive in climate action, “no one has a monopoly on ideas and wisdom in this space.” This sentiment encapsulates the need for democratic participation and champions the role of collective wisdom in building a sustainable model for the future. According to her, the strategy should be rooted in “employment and skills, equality and wellbeing, democratic participation, and community empowerment and revitalisation.”
This progressive move by the Scottish Greens comes on the heels of the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish government, under which they have successfully lobbied for £4.7 billion in funding for climate, nature, waste reduction, renewable energy, and much more. This partnership also led to a marked shift away from maximising fossil fuel extraction and towards a gradual phasing out of fossil fuel use.
With nearly 200 countries at COP28 agreeing to initiate the transition away from fossil fuels, this emphasis on a Just Transition is timely. A green eclipse is on the horizon, and such a shift necessitates constructive dialogue, compromise, collaboration, and collective action – all of which the Scottish Greens are strongly advocating for.
Ms Chapman underlines these sentiments with the understanding that “There are no shortcuts on our way to a Just Transition.” A clear vision and concerted actions from all sectors of society are necessities in this path towards environmental justice.
The Scottish Greens are paving the way, supporting regional initiatives like the Campaign for North East Rail and the £500 million Just Transition Fund, with an overall investment in zero-carbon heating businesses.
In these unsettling times of climate change, both tested political dedication and active civic participation are necessary to ensure a Just Transition. It’s encouraging to see the Scottish Greens acknowledging this need and working fervently to ensure that the future of their communities is secure and sustainable. Their ethos of collective decision-making and partnership is a lesson for all in the pursuit of a truly Just Transition.