In Weekend Seven, Assembly members worked together in facilitated small groups to draft supporting statements for each of the recommendations. Supporting statements explain why members believe the recommendation is important and in some cases indicates a timescale for action.
In the final vote, members voted for the supporting statements alongside the relevant recommendation.
Support Sustainable Manufacturing
Strategically support the development of new manufacturing businesses in Scotland that are innovating in low carbon, high quality, built to last, product design.
We believe there is a need for investment in manufacturing that will focus on the use of new low carbon materials and innovative design techniques that will reduce the need for virgin resources, improve longevity and reduce waste - for example by reusing industrial materials, designing for upgrade/ repair, or working with bioplastics.
Although this could mean that some products will be more expensive, they will last longer and be repairable making the initial cost better value for money. It would be fairest to make this type of support for innovation available to all manufacturers, including small and micro-businesses and individuals. This would also help to support a circular economy.
Investing in innovation in local manufacturing could also lead to fewer imports, meaning lower transport emissions, and creating demand for new skills and job opportunities, thus improving Scotland’s skill levels in sectors which will be important for the future.
Ban Single Use Plastic
Reduce plastic and electronic waste by banning the use of single use plastics (unless there is no viable alternative) and increasing regulation to prevent the supply of products in non-recyclable packaging and to stop retailers providing plastic bags to customers.
This recommendation will reduce the potential for waste by stopping it at the source, and engender a change of mindset. We believe the use of single-use plastics in manufacturing and packaging must be stopped as soon as possible.
Scotland should take the lead on bringing in regulations that minimise the harm caused by the use of non-recyclable materials for packaging and eliminating the use of plastic bags. Setting strict goals for plastic pollution reduction will also help to protect our ocean waters and mean that by 2030 we are able to end plastic leakage into the seas from Scotland.
Reduce food waste by increasing public pressure and regulation on supermarkets (and other outlets) to change how fruit, vegetables and other perishable products are packaged, so that people can buy only the amount they need.
We think that there is a problem with how much of the fresh food in supermarkets is packaged in bags and boxes that force people to buy quantities that they may not need or be able to use before it is past its best.
This not only means things are more expensive (because you are forced to buy more, for example a bunch of bananas in a bag rather than 2 or 3) but increases food waste and unnecessary packaging waste.
This recommendation aims to address this by making sellers change their packaging policies. This may also have impacts on the supply chain in ways that could favour local producers and encourage supermarkets to source produce differently.
National Reuse Charter
Introduce a National Reuse Charter to establish best practice standards and targets; timetables for implementation; and reporting mechanisms, in order for Local Authorities to transform recycling centres into reuse centres where items can be repurposed by skilled workers, and allocate funding equal to the National Recycling Charter (£70 million) to provide for implementation.
This will be effective in reducing overall waste and the amount of resources used across Scotland. Reusing and repurposing reduces our carbon footprint much more than recycling and needs to be our next step for resource management.
Clear standards, timetables, and guidelines will allow consistent implementation across the country and could help create local employment.
The onus is on everyone needing to change their behaviours, therefore reducing overall consumption demand. We also think that this will have the most impact if it is combined with the greater use of carbon taxes on products.
Extended Producer Responsibility
Legislation Introduce extended producer responsibility legislation to regulate product design e.g. materials, production processes, so that the full costs of lifetime product emissions and disposal/repurposing are included in the price - including imported products.
Introducing this legislation would ensure that the manufacturer takes responsibility for the TOTAL carbon footprint & emissions of a product. This should lead to manufacturers designing and making products that last longer, are repairable and upgradeable. This should mean that people will need to replace expensive items less frequently.
Consumer electronics, in particular mobile phones, should be prioritised by the legislation. It will also reduce the carbon footprint of products by discouraging the use of non-reusable components. This might also help support Scottish industry and jobs because imports of these items could become more expensive.
Provide government support to Local Authorities to establish a network of ‘Resource Libraries’ across the country, where people can ‘borrow’ high quality tools and equipment that are maintained and repaired by the library, rather than buying seldom used items themselves.
This is important because it will reduce carbon emissions by reducing consumption demand for tools and equipment. It will provide a valuable local service and also employment opportunities.
It will mean that because people will have easy access to high quality tools and equipment (especially things they don’t use regularly like chainsaws, pressure washers or camping equipment) that households don’t all have to buy their own, which might be a cheaper product with a limited lifespan that is then thrown away.
It’s also fair because it enables low income people to access expensive equipment when needed meaning their finances can go to more important things - such as food, hopefully helping to reduce reliance on food banks.
Lewis, Assembly Member
“My favourite recommendations were to do with establishing repair stations and tool libraries. They gave me a positive, hopeful view of the future where communities interact in ways that benefit each other and the environment. That’s a future I’d like to be a part of.”
Mhairi, Assembly Member
“I am most proud of the recommendation about banning single use plastic as it is so close to the main recommendation of the Children’s Parliament. It was lovely to hear the clarity of their thoughts and how much they linked to ours.”
Passivhaus Standard for New Build
Update building standards to ensure that, within the next 5 years, all new housing is built to Passivhaus standards (or an agreed Scottish equivalent), to create healthy homes for people while also taking into account whole life carbon costs and environmental impact.
This will ensure that the overall whole life cycle impact of new build houses on Scotland’s carbon emissions is minimised. We recognise that the specific Passivhaus standards may not be entirely suited to Scotland’s environment but believe strongly that any Scottish equivalent must take these as a minimum level for impact. This will future-proof future housing stock - making sure we are building to last and having less of an effect on the environment than our current housing stock does. It will make sure all materials used for new housing are environmentally friendly and up to meeting strengthened environmental standards. We do acknowledge that, in the short term at least, the standards may need to incorporate some flexibility to make sure carbon-friendly materials can be used even if the pace of technological advances means they don’t quite meet the standard, e.g. environmentally friendly insulation materials. Changing the standards however will deliver a level playing field for compliance from the construction sector, combatting pushback from developers.
Planning Decisions Consider Climate
Local authorities and planning departments need to ensure carbon sequestration, wellbeing, adaptation to manage extreme weather risk, and biodiversity are all considered in planning decisions for urban areas and buildings.
Our urban areas are important resources for managing our carbon emissions and creating environments where people can live sustainable lives. This recommendation also aims to re-connect communities with natural spaces and reviving biodiversity. It is also about ensuring that with any new build neighbourhoods there is green space, for example for people to meet outside; green roofs on buildings; and spaces that can counter adverse effects on the environment such as water run-off and sustainable drainage systems.
If planning regulations are strengthened and assessed by the relevant authorities then these measures can be incorporated into the design and could be enforced through planning gain requirements.
Building Standards – Non Residential
Within the next five years, update Building Standards Regulations to make it mandatory to apply EnerPhit/Passivhaus standards (or agreed Scottish equivalent), with an assessment of whole life/embodied carbon costs and the environmental impact of the materials used in construction, to all work on new and existing non-residential buildings.
This will mean existing buildings are valued for their embodied carbon, with retrofitting encouraged over new buildings. Any ‘agreed Scottish equivalent’ must be at EnerPhit/Passivhaus standard or better, not watered down. The public sector should lead the way with this work.
Building Design for Recycling and Reuse
Introduce appropriate legislation that requires all new buildings to be designed from the outset using techniques that enable demountability, disassembly, material recycling and reuse at end of life.
This is important because by recycling and reusing, less carbon is emitted. Construction techniques, components or materials that are mechanically fixed should be encouraged. Those that are chemically bonded and not able to be separated or disassembled for recycling or reuse should be regarded as having a high environmental impact and be discouraged. These standards may need to be accompanied by training in appropriate techniques.
Carol, Assembly Member
“Overall, I liked the proposals that were put forward about building standards for good standards of insulation and building regulations. I think that’s been a neglected issue in Scotland for quite a long time.”
Environmental Impact Assessments
Within the next five years, introduce a new environmental impact assessment for existing and new homes which adapts SAP/EPCs to measure all aspects of sustainability - combining energy efficiency measures; whole life/embodied carbon costs; and the environmental impact of the materials used in construction. This should also be used in the assessment of Council Tax bands.
This will help homebuyers to make informed choices by providing clear information about the environmental impact of their homes (including how it meets EnerPhit/Passivhaus standards), encompassing the extraction of raw materials; pollution; processing of materials; and disposal at end of life, in order to protect the natural environment. It will show people what changes they need to make to reduce the carbon impact of their homes. It will help to recognise the value of existing buildings and encourage their restoration/redevelopment rather than building new ones.
Fiona, Assembly Member
“I was excited to be part of something so life-changing for my country.”
Workforce Development and Retraining
Invest in workforce development and retraining to deliver retrofitting and construction work to high standards and ensure we have the ability to implement an ambitious retrofit plan across Scotland.
By investing in developing the capacity of the workforce in retrofit technology, innovation and installation practices, new employment opportunities will be provided. Achieving this effectively should also involve putting more emphasis on environmental issues/green skills in vocational training for the construction industry and to provide building services too , so that the workforce understand the need for these changes. We believe that this recommendation will enable retrofitting and construction work to be delivered to high standards, and potentially provide training and employment opportunities for workers moving from diminishing carbon heavy industries. It will also empower communities to effectively undertake improvements to the carbon efficiency of their housing stock.
Implement Fuel Poverty Strategy by 2030
Ensure the Fuel Poverty Strategy, as required by the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act (2019) but currently still in its 2018 draft form, is implemented immediately and is effective by 2030 not 2040.
This recommendation brings benefits to the health and well-being of the population and has a corresponding benefit of reducing costs to the NHS while also helping towards meeting Scotland’s interim 2030 target for carbon reduction. It will also have a generally positive impact on the economy as people will have more disposable income. We believe this recommendation will have a large and immediate impact for those most in need.
Retrofit All Existing Homes by 2030
Develop an ambitious plan across Scotland to enable the retrofitting of all existing homes by 2030 to be net zero.
We know that 80% of homes that people will be living in by 2050 already exist and do not meet modern and future energy efficiency requirements. This recommendation is important therefore, because an ambitious plan is needed to ensure that all existing housing stock can be retrofitted by 2030.
We believe the plan must be developed and the implementation overseen by an independent non-profit body that is able to work with all stakeholders to ensure sufficient funding and quality assurance. The implementation of the plan will make a significant impact on reducing Scotland’s carbon emissions (e.g. heating Scotland’s homes accounts for 15% of total emissions).
This plan must also incorporate adaptations to hazards such as floods and extreme weather which may occur in the future. Doing this will also make a positive contribution to the health & well-being of the population (including cost savings for the NHS), and will provide much needed employment opportunities. It will also be an important contribution to lifting people out of fuel poverty by reducing fuel bills and making homes more economical.
Robust Retrofit Quality Standards
Ensure immediate development of robust quality standards for assessing what needs to be done to retrofit existing homes to become net zero.
This recommendation is important to enable existing housing to become net zero, as current methods for assessing energy efficiency of houses and heating systems are outdated, not fit for purpose and need to be updated and future proofed.
New Scottish standards, using Passivhaus standards as a minimum, must ensure inclusion of whole life carbon assessments and the environmental impact of all materials. They must also be able to mitigate against. and adapt to, the hazards of climate change and extreme weather in the future.
Decarbonise Heating by 2030
Scotland should lead the way in reducing to net zero the carbon emissions caused by domestic and non-domestic heating systems, by investing in the exploration and early adoption of alternative fuel sources for buildings, and where possible decarbonise the gas grid and heating systems by 2030.
Heating homes constitutes a large proportion of Scotland’s carbon emissions, therefore a change to the way we heat homes and buildings is paramount to meeting reduction targets. There are a variety of potential fuel sources that we think should be explored, as different solutions will work better in different parts of Scotland and for different types of buildings.
Grants to Retrofit Homes
Make a grant available to ALL homeowners in Scotland by 2025 to bring their houses to zero emissions standards by 2030, starting by prioritising houses in fuel poverty.
To be fair this grant system should prioritise those living in fuel poverty. It should be provided with the twin focus of benefiting those in most need and the overall reduction of carbon emissions from across the Scottish housing stock. Future proofing homes against hazards such as extreme weather and floods should also be a focus. We suggest that the grant should cover up to 95% of the retrofitting costs for each home. We believe that while this may be costly in the short term, the longer term benefits will outweigh that (e.g. up to 15% of Scotland’s total carbon emissions could be addressed by implementing this recommendation).
Eri, Assembly Member
“Hard to select one, however one that I particularly engaged with was to retrofit existing homes to the Passivhaus or equivalent standard and bringing up to date building standards suitable for energy efficient homes.”
Standards and Regulation
Building and Trading Standards
Strengthen building and trading standards to quality assure energy efficiency work carried out by private companies, to make sure it actually delivers emission reductions to homes.
It’s important the public have confidence in the quality of work and the materials used in their homes especially as the Scottish Government sets targets for retrofitting and energy efficiency. This will lead to wider acceptance of the changes required and greater uptake and make building improvements fairer by strengthening quality across the board.
Greenfield and Brownfield Development
Strengthen planning restrictions immediately so that development on greenfield sites should not be permitted until all other development options, such as brownfield and existing building repurposing, have been considered and legitimately rejected.
We believe it could be very effective because it can be implemented now and relies on an assessment and re-evaluation of the assets we have in terms of our land and building resources. It would direct builders towards existing infrastructure, amenities and opportunities within populated areas and away from out of town greenfield sites.
This recommendation is about valuing and preserving green spaces, agricultural land, wildlife and woodland and providing a new value to existing buildings rather than building new ones. It is also about honouring and empowering communities and their wishes and may also lead to the regeneration of neglected areas of towns and communities by transforming them for housing and other uses.
Net Zero Public Sector by 2030
Require all public sector buildings, vehicles and supply chains to be net zero by 2030 with an interim target of 75% by 2027 and a target for absolute zero by 2035.
The public sector should lead by example. The size of the public sector in Scotland means that the government can have a large impact on emissions in a relatively short period of time as shown by other public sector organisations that have adapted quickly. By doing this, the private sector would be encouraged to upskill and improve their practices to meet the standards of public sector contracts.
Sustainable Public Sector Procurement
Introduce a public sector procurement requirement for companies to provide details of their sustainability performance (measured against agreed standards) in any tenders for work, and for this to be used alongside costs in making the final decision on whom to select.
The public sector in Scotland is by far the largest consumer entity, and so action here will bring about considerable effect. The impact will be felt across the sector and all the way down the supply chain, encouraging lower carbon and more sustainable practices. A holistic approach will encourage corporate responsibility and provide greater assurance in the quality of procurement.
Calum, Assembly Member
“I am pleased that we embraced a holistic view that examined the impact of products and service throughout the whole of their lifecycle, taking into account climate impacts during manufacture, use, and then recycling or disposal at the end of their life. Requiring businesses to report on the carbon footprint of their products, so that consumers can make informed choices, is a great step forward.”
Public Sector Vehicles
Make it mandatory for all public service vehicles (ambulances, police cars etc.) to have zero tailpipe emissions, extending to delivery vans and public transport where possible.
Transport is one of the major sources of fossil fuel emissions. Therefore by changing the public fleet of vehicles to zero emission vehicles it will not only reduce emissions from those vehicles, but encourage the development of innovative technologies.
We know that it will not be possible to purchase new internal combustion engine cars privately from 2030 and the Scottish Government has have already committed to: “Create the conditions to phase out the need for all new petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland’s public sector fleet by 2030.” We think this is not enough and other vehicles should be included. It will ease people’s concerns and help change people’s mindset to adopting zero emission vehicles themselves. With this change more charging points will become available in public locations.
Establish strengthened benchmarked standards and set a requirement for public organisations and private companies to measure their annual progress on the path to net zero and publish this in a clear and transparent way.
This is important because as Scotland sets net zero targets, businesses need to be included and held accountable for their total emissions including matters such as: waste management and recycling; heating systems; lighting; ventilation; use of transport; insulation; and consumables. In order for this to happen they need to have measurable standards to adhere to, and the means of assessing them.
The Scottish Government should consider how this would relate to UK law, especially with regards to enforcement methods, e.g. taxation and binding targets. We think this is fair because everyone has a responsibility to contribute to reducing emissions and this requirement would apply equally to everyone. The public could then use this information to inform choices about what companies they use and this would drive competition.
Produce a green paper contrasting different methods of electricity generation focusing on capacity to meet baseload, £ per kWh, embodied carbon, safety and environmental impact and use this paper to plan Scotland’s electricity generation in the future.
This action will help produce an effective masterplan with the best interest of the environment in mind. The plan will provide a timeline to ensure electricity capacity is available at the point when we need it. A lot of investment will be required, so we need to know where to best allocate our resources. It will show savings - at a government, business, community and individual level - in the long-term. Planning ahead will ensure the consumer gets some of the savings and help address fuel poverty.
Climate Change Business Bill
Introduce a Climate Change Business Bill, to be enacted within the next five years, which sets climate impact standards and requires all businesses to assess the carbon emissions of their business practices on climate change (against variable criteria depending on the size of the business). Establish an independent climate change regulatory authority to inspect, audit and ensure compliance.
This is important because businesses need to know what is required of them. It will also ensure accurate reporting and proper training. It enables businesses to realise what actions need to be taken to meet the emission reduction standards required, whilst taking into account the size of the business to ensure fairness and viability.
Established standards, and the reporting on them, will give the public more information about what businesses are doing, whilst giving executives a format for action to achieve those standards. This should not exempt businesses involved in carbon trading schemes.
Plant Based and Low Carbon Food
Immediately require government and public services to procure plant based and low carbon food for all public sector catering and canteens.
We believe that implementing this recommendation demonstrates leadership by example and a commitment to accountability. It contributes to educating and steering the public towards low carbon and plant based diet options. This recommendation should be driven by a commitment to very best quality food in terms of both nutritional value and taste.
We think that there are also opportunities here for publicity campaigns which involve celebrity and/or high achieving chefs, and also creativity in terms of recipes and food options, all of which will engage people more in healthy and low carbon diets, contributing positively to lowering carbon emissions.
Ellie, Assembly Member
“I was on the ‘diet and lifestyle’ work stream and was astonished to learn about the high levels of carbon associated with the meat and dairy industry. After hearing a lot of evidence, it felt really important to myself and other members I worked with to ensure the government set a precedent for a shift away from the high carbon diet habits that we have in Scotland towards a low carbon, plant-based diet. There is a recommendation which was voted for and is published in the document which requests immediate change for all public-procured canteen and catering food to be plant-based. For Scottish government to undertake this recommendation it will demonstrate a clear direction in how we need to change our diets to respond to the climate emergency and will significantly contribute to reducing Scotland’s carbon emissions.”
Public Transport Cheaper or Free
Make public transport cheaper, or free, by reviewing tender processes to focus government subsidies into nationalised public/private partnerships or not for profit public transport providers.
The availability and affordability of public transport is key to realising a fairer, more mobile society and a greener Scotland. Public transport should be something that exists to provide a service to communities, rather than generate private profits.
In this model, any surplus made could be used for investment back into services and to help reduce the disparity in provision across different areas of Scotland. Reducing the costs of public transport would encourage people to move away from cars, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.
Oyster Card for Scotland
Introduce standardised smart ticketing for public transport across the whole country – an ‘Oyster card for Scotland’.
Standardised smart ticketing for all would allow for easier joined-up journeys increasing accessibility and promoting the use of public transport by saving time and resources. We think this would work best through a central travel app and an e-loaded ticket that could be bought on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.
Integrated Rail Network
Place rail travel at the core of an integrated transport system, by subsidising rail infrastructure to make it more affordable and resilient than air travel, particularly for mainland journeys in the UK.
We believe that a more accessible integrated rail network, with affordability, frequency and reliability at the forefront, will be better able to compete for customers with more carbon-intensive forms of transport like flights. If there is also wider investment in facilities for connecting to other forms of transport, protecting the resilience of the network from the impacts of extreme weather events, and enhancing the customer experience, then the option of traveling by rail is likely to become people’s natural choice.
Ferry and Vessel Emissions
Improve regulation about emissions from ferries (and other vessels used to transport goods around Scotland) so that high carbon emitting vessels are replaced with low carbon, modern alternatives, and ensure that the Scottish public sector fleet achieves a 50% cut in total carbon emissions by 2030.
Our ambition here is for all vessels in Scottish waters to be zero carbon emitters, but we think Scottish Government needs to initially lead by example by strengthening their commitment to move to low emission vessels.
We would further like to see the rate of emission reductions continually increased so that there is a total cut in carbon emissions from the publicly owned fleet of 75% by 2035, and 100% by 2040.
Further, to drive this change among the private sector we think there should be a financial penalty introduced by 2040 for any non-zero emission vessels using Scottish waters.
Invest in Alternative Fuels and Green Incentives
Reduce the number of petrol and diesel vehicles in Scotland by investing in the development of alternative green fuels and increasing awareness of, and the level of, incentives available to support the transition to zero tailpipe emission vehicles.
Our aim here is to assist people with the transition from petrol and diesel vehicles to vehicles powered by green alternatives, for private cars, public transport and commercial vehicles.
We believe there is not enough awareness of the existing incentives to make these transitions, and access to this information must be increased immediately. The level of subsidy available should also be increased so that more people and companies are supported to change their vehicles in the short term.
Research & Development for Zero Carbon Air Travel
Help Scottish industry to become a leader in sustainable short-distance plane technology by increasing research and development into zero-carbon fuel for air travel.
Air travel is a major contributor to worldwide carbon emissions, and while overall we need to reduce the amount of air travel to reduce carbon emissions there will still be the need for flights.
We understand that innovation is already ongoing in Scotland in relation to developing electric planes and looking at other fuel alternatives, and believe this should be continued and supported to help us lead the way in alternative fuels for air travel.
While recognising that most flights are made by a proportionately small part of the population, we think that retaining the alternative to fly is important, particularly for island communities and rural areas, so this technology is necessary.
Nadine, Assembly Member
“I am proud of this because it is important to have the option to fly. By leading the development of sustainable technology Scotland would be recognised and respected globally and it would benefit short distance air travel across the world.”
Electric Vehicle Charging
Create convenient electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure by 2025, focussed around community demand and lifestyle, in balance with other needs for use of space.
We want to make it easier for owners of petrol and diesel cars to transition to electric cars by making the charging facilities accessible and affordable.
We believe the cost for charging EVs should be affordable and uniform across the country, and this may need the help of regulation. This will be particularly important in rural areas where private car use may remain more necessary than in urban areas.
Decarbonise Internal Flights by 2025
Commit to working to decarbonise all internal flights within Scotland by 2025.
We recognise that the Scottish Government Climate Change Plan Update commits to working to decarbonise scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040. We do not believe that this is soon enough and argue that Scotland should become an early adopter of electric planes for short haul flights, especially for island journeys.
We believe this would help focus efforts on where we can achieve significant emissions reductions quickly and easily.
John, Assembly Member
“Air travel is the real culprit that’s for sure, because it’s already up in the atmosphere, it doesn’t have very far to go to pollute the atmosphere, so if we can tackle that one reasonably quickly then we’ll do not too badly.”
Food Carbon Labelling
Within 5 years, to have fully implemented food carbon labelling, similar to nutritional labelling, that shows real and total carbon content - not the offset carbon footprint.
The first stage would be to develop tools to consistently measure the carbon impacts of food production, processing and transport (to the point of distribution).
The labelling should declare complete carbon footprint and be colour coded with a simple traffic light system. This will make people more aware, and more likely to compare products, plus we know a similar approach to nutritional information has worked in the past.
We think that this is a fair approach because it increases knowledge and helps people to make informed choices about the carbon footprint of the food they choose to eat. It would also make people more interested in the carbon content of food. A carbon calculator app could be developed, alongside the labelling scheme, that gives people an overall picture of their carbon footprint and a challenge to aim for.
It is also fair to producers who are making items with a lower carbon footprint and, because it only measures transport emissions to the point of distribution, it is fair for all parts of Scotland.
Colin, Assembly Member
“I think everything about helping people make good choices, whether that was labelling or company information. Because I find partly the problem is the overwhelming amount of information that people get. And actually I think a lot of people want to make good choices but if it’s like, OK I have to calculate where this food comes from or I’ve bought something from this company and have to investigate how they supply their delivery vans or something... You need a bit of a simplification, because most people I know want to do good things, we just need to make it a bit easier.”
Declare Travel Carbon Impact
Immediately make it easier for people to make informed choices about how they travel, taking carbon emissions into consideration, by requiring transport providers to declare the carbon impact of flights and train journeys in a clear and meaningful way at the time of booking.
Our aim is to encourage people to choose a travel method with a lower carbon footprint by increasing their knowledge about the carbon emissions of the method of travel they are considering so they can make informed choices.
The information provided should declare the absolute carbon footprint and must be available upfront as part of the ticket price.
We think it will encourage more sustainable travel and is also fair to travel providers who are offering services with a lower carbon footprint. It could also make people more interested in their overall travel emissions and could work alongside a carbon calculator app which allows people to track their emissions and gives people a challenge to aim for.
Product Carbon Labelling
Require businesses to label products to show the carbon footprint of the production process.
Our aim here is to give people more information about the true costs of the items they buy to enable them to compare products and make informed consumer choices, possibly also considering the need for a product and whether to reduce overall consumption patterns.
The labelling would be similar to how calories are presented on food items but on items such as radios, televisions and home furnishings (and eventually everything).
The labelling should declare the absolute carbon footprint, and we think it would be most effective if it can include carbon tracking across the whole life cycle of a product (including at disposal).
Change Energy Efficiency Culture
Drive culture change to enable the public to understand that improving energy efficiency in homes is the responsible thing to do.
Enhancing the energy efficiency of our homes across Scotland will be vital to tackling the climate emergency.
We believe that if the government ensures through policy (including implementing other recommendations we have made) that energy efficiency measures can add value to our homes, then a culture change that normalises this will take place.
Education will help to ensure the population understands the benefits of what might be possible and play their part to help achieve our climate goals.
Sustainable Diet Public Information Campaigns
Initiate public information campaigns, including education for children and families, that deliver accessible advice and information on transitioning to a sustainable diet.
This is important because not everyone is aware that specific foods have an impact on our climate.
Our society has a cultural bias towards choosing meat and most of us don’t truly appreciate the impact of dairy and meat consumption around the world.
Growing awareness will be key. Effective information will help the majority of the population to make the transition from high carbon foods to more sustainable diets that are plant based and grown in ways minimise carbon emissions.
Janette, Assembly Member
“Scotland must have a decent, affordable public transport system. Everything else depends on it.”
Include carbon emissions and reduction topics in all relevant education programmes.
The aim of this recommendation is to give everyone an understanding of the impact of their actions on the environment. We believe that this will help empower people to make informed choices and to be part of the movement for change, giving them the tools they need to help tackle climate change.
Employment Training Campaigns
Run a public information campaign about training opportunities, in order to attract people into greener industries, including targeted information for people currently working in ‘brown’ sectors such as oil and gas and in sectors that are dependent on oil and gas.
This will be important because it provides the necessary information that enables people to move into industries that support more sustainable living.
Workers in oil and gas and other carbon intensive industries have transferable skills which will be useful as we transition.
Education on Sustainable Transport
Provide education for all to support the transition from car use to public and active transport so people recognise the climate impacts and change behaviours willingly.
We believe that this is an important recommendation, as getting people out of their private cars remains a big challenge for society, but is vital to help us reduce emissions. This can be supported by improvements in our public transport system and economic incentives to ensure it is fair for all, but understanding is vital.
Local Living and Four Day Week
Raise public awareness on the value that can be achieved for climate change by embracing localised living and a 4-day, or reduced, working week.
This recommendation builds on the principle of the 20-minute community.
We believe it is important as it will support people to understand that traveling less, shopping locally and creating more time for leisure can help us in living more sustainably.
People will be better informed that change is possible as we embrace localised living, promote wellbeing over Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and share examples as they are trialled and implemented, such as the 4-day week trial in Spain.
Forbes, Assembly Member
“I guess it really made me question what I actually need as opposed to what I want. From a consumer point of view, I’m lucky to be able to afford most things I want. But starting to think, well, do I need to buy that? I just started thinking about what I can do to make my impact a bit less, or a lot less. It’s changed my diet, the way I consume stuff in online shopping, what I’m doing with things as opposed to chucking them away.”
Jim, Assembly Member
“The recommendation to instigate a programme of information and education to make everyone aware of the seriousness of the situation and the need to take swift and decisive action. I feel that a change in mindset towards a carbon neutral world and altering our way of life to enable that aspiration is the way forward for future generations.”
Marine Carbon Sequestration
Fulfil the carbon sink potential of the marine environment to establish an holistic enterprise that maximises carbon sequestration and supports sustainable marine food production.
Our seas are six times the land mass of Scotland - 460,000 sqKM - and have huge potential for improving carbon sequestration.
We also think there is potential to make better use of regenerative ocean farming techniques in our seas in ways that contribute to food production in sustainable ways. This could also have a secondary benefit of improving our oceans and bringing back more native species.
We need to treat our marine assets in the same way that we are treating our land assets.
Peatland Restoration and Native Woodland
Commit to higher levels than in current Scottish Government plans of restoring peatlands and native woodlands for carbon sequestration and improving biodiversity.
This recommendation is about maximising how we use Scotland’s natural assets and using land to its full potential to tackle the climate emergency.
We know that since 2012 only 25,000 hectares (ha) of degraded peatlands have been put on the road to recovery, despite much higher government targets. We also know that the recent Scottish Government Climate Change Plan Update maintains an annual peatland restoration target of 20,000 ha, but we don’t think this is fast enough, or covers enough land.
We’ve been told that the current Scottish Government commitments to tree planting are to achieve 15,000 ha per year from 2024/25, although we are disappointed that this does not commit to native woodlands as this would have additional environmental benefits alongside carbon sequestration.
Making these changes would help enable the land to work towards our climate goals, rather than against them. This will be most effective if it begins immediately and is supported for the long term.
Incentivise Land Use to Support Net Zero
Fulfil Scotland’s carbon sink potential by incentivising landowners to maximise the land available in order to meet net zero targets.
This recommendation is intended to end destructive land management practices and focus on investment in dedicating underused land to increasing carbon sequestration. This will enable the land to work towards our climate goals, rather than against them.
So much of Scotland’s land is not suitable for crop growing, so potential for absorbing carbon is high here, including through restoration of degraded peatlands, woodland planting and improved soil management. We think it is a fair demand as it gives landowners and tenants a choice and incentives.
This will be more effective if it begins immediately and is supported for the long term.
Farming Subsidies to Support Transition
Given the exit from the EU (and the end of the Common Agricultural Policy funding model), the government should work with the farming community to develop a subsidy regime that encourages farmers to transition to more sustainable land management practices, to be fully implemented in the next 5 years.
The need to replace the current funding regime provides a valuable opportunity to refocus subsidies and policy on sustainable land management to help meet carbon emission targets, and also to go further and look into the future.
This could be really effective in making a big change, addressing around ¼ of greenhouse gases in Scotland. It recognises the need to work with farmers to maximise what they can do and provide them with the support to make changes - including training, support and funding.
We think this is important because we need to reconsider how we relate to the land, and rethink our connection with nature.
We also think this is a fair way to support the transition to sustainable practices in agriculture as it would enable a move away from meat and dairy farming, in ways that give farmers time to adapt and diversify their businesses.
Community Low Carbon Heating
Provide government incentives for local authorities and social housing providers to work with communities to develop low carbon heating systems in neighbourhoods.
The action should lead to collaborative working opportunities with local authorities, individuals, community and local businesses to develop innovative responses to neighbourhood heating needs.
Working together with communities in this way will address the community’s needs, and ensure the right solutions are put in place for each neighbourhood.
In a separate recommendation the Assembly is asking for funding to be made available to homeowners for energy efficiency improvements and this action is intended to provide similar funding for local authorities and social housing providers to support neighbourhood wide solutions.
A wider benefit of this action is that it may create local job opportunities and apprenticeships meaning that the investment stays in the local community.
Provide government support for community engagement, to empower local people to make decisions around their needs and conduct transparent consultations.
Good consultations give communities ownership of solutions and promote teamwork. Community members can help to educate each other on what is achievable in a way where individuals aren’t left behind.
Using Place Plans and Place Standards tools makes consultations more transparent and means that solutions get tailored to the needs of the community. The process and the outcome will also educate future generations, giving them the ability to decide what happens within their community in the future.
Community Land Ownership Reform
Empower local communities to manage underused, unproductive, and/or unoccupied land around them in ways that address the climate emergency through rapid and decisive movement on land ownership reform.
This recommendation aims to benefit the wider community, and the environment, by addressing imbalances in land use and ownership.
There is a lot of brownfield land and not much ‘spare land’ in certain areas, and there are very few landowners. The action will maximise the land available for carbon sequestration, energy generation, and food production.
Local communities, supported by the government, will work together with the landowners to manage their underused land. It would also create work and enable people to develop new skills.
Funding for Community Climate Action Projects
Introduce a pot of money for community projects (this could be ring-fenced money collected from Land Carbon taxes) to be used to invest in community-based climate action projects e.g. rewilding, peatland restoration, growing projects.
Communities need a booster (capital investment) to get these types of green projects off the ground and get them to a point where they are self-sustaining. We believe this could happen now, i.e. within the next year, by building on the Climate Challenge Fund and increasing investment in it by government, sponsorship from business and/or the National Lottery even before the Land Carbon tax gets on stream.
Communities want to manage the land for the benefit of everyone, so funding for greener community projects is fair as it means local people are not wholly responsible for raising the money.
Enhance Community Right to Buy
Enhance Community Right to Buy legislation to make it easier for communities to take ownership of unproductive land for climate action, alongside providing clear policy guidance on how community owned land should be managed.
We believe this is important because there are many communities who want to do this, but don’t know how.
There are also a lot of landowners at present who do not do anything with their land and they are getting subsidies just for having it. This action will reverse the trend that the majority of the land is owned by a minority of the people.
At the moment it is up to the community to prove that the land is not used. In the enhanced legislation, this would be turned round, and it would be up to the landowner to prove that they are maximising the potential use of the land towards climate action.
This, along with ensuring continued availability of funding for community purchase, will make it easier for communities to buy the land. As part of buying land as a community, there is an obligation to manage the land in a climate sensitive way.
Andrew, Assembly Member
“I suppose having come from the islands, the fact that there was a discussion on land ownership and peat restoration really impressed me as I thought that was a potential blind spot. So the recommendations calling on the government to enhance land buy-out legislation was something I felt was particularly important as it will have other positive socio-economic impacts as well as environmental.”
Sustainable Business Loans
Introduce government backed sustainable business loans for companies and start-ups to invest in innovation in reuse and reprocessing in Scotland and creating commercial demand for repurposed/remanufactured materials.
Through incentives companies in this sector can make changes more quickly, or new companies can be helped to start up, which will help create more jobs, encourage innovation, and support fairer access to funding.
This is still a relatively small sector in Scotland but will be vital to the future, ensuring that we are able to make productive use of our waste resources, reduce the export of waste and the amount of waste going to landfill.
Reduce High Carbon Construction Materials
Incentivise the use of Scottish grown and produced materials in house construction by setting targets to reduce the use of high carbon construction materials and increase the use of carbon neutral materials.
We believe there is a need to reduce the carbon footprint of materials used in construction and also grow green local manufacturing capacity.
This is not just about reducing transport miles but also about helping with longer-term carbon storage, for example if Scottish sourced timber was substituted for brick, cement, and steel in some construction activities, the carbon would be locked up in the timber and it would also reduce the need for very high emission brick, cement, and steel products.
We believe, however, that it will be important to do this in a way that also protects and enhances biodiversity.
Targets to Sell Local Produce
Set targets for supermarkets and other shops to buy and sell local produce at a fair price to farmers and consumers, and consider systems of grants for supporting more localised markets.
To reduce the carbon footprint of our shopping habits and support the local economy we want to see a move away from imported produce towards local production.
While we recognise that just because something is locally produced is not a guarantee of the produce having a low carbon footprint because it could still be grown or farmed in unsustainable ways, we feel that reducing food miles overall will still make a valuable contribution to achieving our emission reduction targets.
Grow and adapt our local economies by de-incentivising imports and establishing more innovative businesses and low carbon manufacturing industries in Scotland.
We believe that businesses should be encouraged to use locally sourced goods and materials wherever possible to reduce transport that creates increased carbon emissions. This is equally important for the materials used for packaging as for materials used in production.
Once supply chains are established there might even be a possibility of regulating at a later date to require a percentage of their materials to be sourced in this way. If businesses are able to do this it will be a massive contributing factor towards net zero, as well as helping local economies.
Sharon, Assembly Member
“[The most memorable part of the Assembly was] meeting all the other members and seeing what a massive, diverse group we are. There are members that will stay in my memory for a long time to come.”
Work and Volunteering
National Nature Service
Government and industry should work together to develop a career ladder, or an incentive, for people not in education, training, or work to contribute to rewilding, land restoration and adaptation projects. This could be driven by a National Nature Service, supplemented by a Conservation Volunteers Scheme.
We believe that this will be an effective action that will have a direct consequence on reaching our goal of restoring and maintaining our natural carbon sinks.
The same model could also be used to adapt our environment to climate change through ‘soft’ rather than ‘hard’ engineering’ e.g. allowing flood plains for rivers; using plants to slow down water flow; and creating green spaces in cities to help with urban cooling.
The voluntary aspect to complement the main programme would provide education and raise awareness across communities and create opportunities for people to take part in something - instilling pride, respect and wellbeing and a collective sustainable consciousness.
This could be part of a bigger shift into a new, more holistic way of living, ‘people before profit’, looking after our environment, creating opportunities for all, including reshaping the education system.
National Green Training and Apprenticeship Schemes
Scottish Government should support businesses and employers to transition and prioritise green skills by introducing a national training/retraining and apprenticeship scheme for new green jobs, accessible to all.
Looking forward as a society we are going to need a greener consciousness and this will have an impact on the economy, the types of jobs available in Scotland, and the skills the workforce need. ‘Green jobs’ need long-term training, education & investment to be able to support sustainable industries for years to come.
It is important to us that these opportunities are available and accessible to people of all ages and at all stages of their life.
This scheme could include support and advice, work placements, training credits, and bursaries - and those involved would need to be paid a fair wage.
Flexible Working Conditions
Government should publish clear guidelines about their expectations for flexible working conditions and ensure that businesses are meeting these for staff when making procurement decisions and issuing contracts.
This recommendation aims to give people time to embrace a green mindset shift and a better work-life balance, contributing to a low carbon society.
It supports sustainable business models including the 4-day working week, flexible working hours and remote working or working from home that reduces the need for travel.
Fiona, Assembly Member
“[I am most proud of the goal to] develop work, training and volunteering opportunities to support net zero targets, connect people with nature, rebuild depleted natural resources and increase biodiversity as it shows we are thinking about absolutely anyone and everyone throughout this whole process.”
Susie, Assembly Member
“It was exhilarating to be part of a process where ordinary people were given the opportunity to bring to the discussion their experience, knowledge and wisdom. I also found it inspiring to listen to the reports from the Children’s Assembly. They invited us to be hopeful about change because they had such clear, simple and often brilliant ideas. They could imagine a future that they wanted, and they were creative in thinking about specific changes that would bring about that future.”
Eliminate Frequent Flyer and Air Mile Bonuses
Eliminate frequent flyer and air mile bonuses to reduce the number of flights taken for business, encouraging the use of alternatives like video conferencing for meetings.
We believe the Scottish Government needs to consider legislation to eliminate rewards for frequent flying and stop subsidising the airline industry until net zero flights are available.
This recommendation will lower emissions into the atmosphere by encouraging greener business practices and discouraging climate and environmentally harmful business practices. It will also change mindsets.
Most flights are taken by frequent flyers and we must reduce air travel, not reward it! We think we should move towards ‘climate perks’ for those who choose alternative methods of travel such as public transport (e.g. rail) and/or adopt more climate friendly options for connectivity and collaboration (e.g. Zoom meetings).
This will be effective because it is relatively straightforward to implement, and is a necessary change because we can’t wait for technology to solve the emissions problem in this area.
Incentivise Cooperative Models of Land Use
Incentivise cooperative models of land use/land management, and partnerships between farming and other uses, that drive sustainable agriculture and move away from intensive farming and reliance on pesticides.
Incentives for sustainable land use will help to promote cooperative working to ensure best practices are followed.
The cooperative model and working cooperatively helps farmers to make decisions about how they manage the land in a more environmentally friendly way. Recognising land stewardship rather than ownership will encourage long term thinking and building resilience to climate impacts.
We believe this recommendation may also support local distribution thereby cutting down on food miles and travel carbon impacts as people can buy local. It may also support more opportunities for local allotments and local growing. Additionally, using fewer pesticides will support biodiversity.
Incentivise Green Business Models
Provide government incentives for green business models, such as bronze/silver/gold awards or funding to reward sustainable practices and innovation for adaptation to climate change impacts.
Giving government incentives and awards will encourage and incentivise sustainable business practices. If businesses are making the effort to be sustainable, then their efforts should be recognised.
Wellbeing Before Profit
Government should publish clear guidelines about their expectations for flexible working conditions and ensure that businesses are meeting these for staff when making procurement decisions and issuing contracts.
This recommendation aims to give people time to embrace a green mindset shift and a better work-life balance, contributing to a low carbon society.
It supports sustainable business models including the 4-day working week, flexible working hours and remote working or working from home that reduces the need for travel.
Universal Basic Income
Explore introduction of a Universal Basic Income to help improve the fairness of reducing hours at work, combined with a practical pilot/feasibility study which includes measuring environmental impact.
Providing a Universal Basic Income (an unconditional monthly minimum income for everyone) will give people the financial backing and security to change their behaviour and adapt to the climate emergency as they won’t have such a precarious life. It would also enable people to potentially engage in volunteering, jobs and entrepreneurship which should lead to happier and more fulfilled individuals, which will in turn lead to an improvement in the wealth, health and wellbeing of Scotland’s population.
As part of the feasibility study/exploration phase, what has happened overseas and how it has worked, and how it might work in Scotland should be examined and publicly discussed.
Four Day Working Week
Introduce a 4-day (or 32 hour) working week as standard, based on research to explore where and in what sectors it would work best, and backed by incentives to compensate for the cost of employing more people.
Research has shown that countries that have the highest working hours have the highest carbon footprint. Reducing the hours of the working week will give people the opportunity to spend time on activities which will benefit themselves, society and the environment.
We believe doing this will help to increase employment, support the economy and help address the aftermath of the pandemic. It will mean that they can make less carbon intensive choices, for example how they travel and what they eat.
There will be health and wellbeing benefits which will result in less time off work and reduced pressure on the healthcare system. People will have a better work/life balance.
Richard, Assembly Member
“I think the high point for me was the suggestion that society needs to move away from GDP as the sole indicator of progress.”
20 Minute Communities
Improve broadband connectivity across Scotland by investing in a fit for purpose infrastructure to provide reliable, high-speed broadband access in all areas.
We believe it is important to level-up infrastructure provision across Scotland and enable everyone to be able to have access to high speed broadband.
This would improve access for everyone and will help support behaviours that lead to carbon emission reductions, for example reducing travel, flexible or remote working, business innovation and improving work/life balance.
While this will require government investment, another way of supporting this would be to give developers a responsibility for ensuring access in new buildings, just as they have a responsibility for other essential services.
Public Spaces for Walking and Cycling
Invest in improving public spaces in neighbourhoods and cities to make them safer and more appealing to walk and cycle in.
Improving the infrastructure to make active travel safer will enable positive cultural and behavioural changes.
Initiatives that we would like to see implemented, depending on local needs, are establishing more segregated cycle lanes, pedestrianised areas, restricting cars in town and city centres and creating greener environments.
This would provide for better choices for people who can use cars if they need, but improves opportunities to use active travel.
Linda, Assembly Member
“I think the most important one, was the broadband. Because that is a major gripe for a lot of people that are in remote parts of the country. And they are at a disadvantage. Especially when there’s a pandemic and everything goes remote and you’re basically left behind because you’ve not got efficient broadband.”
Convert Existing Buildings
Create thriving town centres by focusing on the conversion of existing properties into high quality housing and community spaces rather than building more edge of town developments.
Everyone should have access to quality housing and this recommendation will help make more homes available. It will help address the climate emergency by using buildings that are already there and converting their use, creating more city living sites in the centre, reducing travel and improving access to 20 minute communities. It also ties in with the ‘Reuse Charter’. This could also improve economic activities in town centres, and would reduce waste on buildings that are not used. Developments and conversions should meet ‘Passivhaus’ standards agreed Scottish equivalent as called for in the Assembly’s goal on building quality.
Reform Planning Laws
Reform planning laws to enable governments to require developers to include community infrastructure and local facilities that can be reached by ‘active travel’ in new developments, preventing collections of houses being built with no amenities, and instead building thriving communities.
This recommendation is about active travel such as walking, cycling and wheeling etc.
It seeks to reduce isolated developments, which create communities that suffer from social problems with limited access to facilities such as parks, recreation, and local services. Instead it would mean that developments are required to provide space to socialise, and schools, local shops, local health centres that are able to be accessed by active transport.
We believe that this will not only lead to thriving communities, but ensure greener sustainable paths and reduce the pace of climate change.
Rural Localised Living
Ensure that all communities are able to benefit from the principles of localised living, inspired by the 20-minute community, by guaranteeing access to services through remote, digital and mobile provision.
Given that the benefits of the ‘20 minute community’ are already established, being creative in how we make them more available to rural as well as urban communities is important.
This will enable all communities to improve their quality of life, promote well-being, reduce unnecessary consumption through tool libraries etc, and reduce the need for travel. We believe this is about improving and enabling better choices to travel less and live locally rather than limiting choice.
Create New and Support Existing Work Hubs
Create new, and supporting existing, work hubs/shared work facilities where someone can go to work, whether they are self employed or an employee.
We would like to see shared working facilities set up in libraries or community venues across Scotland, with internet access, computers and meeting rooms that can be reserved/hired.
These will become places where people will be able to work and learn together, and small villages will benefit as well as urban centres.
This recommendation is important because, by establishing publicly-funded local hubs, travel will be reduced, as well as the need for lots of personal equipment. We believe this will also lead to a stronger sense of community, will enable collaboration and help drive the cultural change needed to reduce high carbon impacts.
Gemma, Assembly Member
“The most memorable part of the Assembly for me was everyone coming together and contributing, giving insight from their own experiences to help with proposals.”
Free Wi-Fi and Support Access to Smart Devices
Work towards ensuring the availability of free Wi-Fi for all, and support access to smart devices for all, to close the digital divide.
We believe that everyone should have access to a basic level of internet service for Wi-Fi/Broadband, regardless of their ability to pay.
This would ensure more equitable impacts for wellbeing, employability, quality of life, flexibly working, options to reduce travel and no-one gets left behind.
This recommendation therefore is more about making sure the benefits of being on line are accessible to the end user, and that there is more equitable access to the internet as a service, rather than necessarily making it free for everyone.
Mark, Assembly Member
“I stay in a village that’s been decimated by new out of town developments. I liked the idea of the local 20 minute society, I liked the idea of local shops being brought back in.”
Laura, Assembly Member
“[From the Assembly process] I have gained confidence in talking about climate change, enthusiasm to start making changes and hope that it’s not too late.”
Incentives for Green Jobs Training
Introduce tax incentives for training/retraining for green jobs, aimed at those industries which are set to grow rapidly, to support the replacement of existing high-carbon jobs in the transition to net zero.
This will support workers to transfer from high-carbon jobs by helping people to retrain and move into meaningful jobs in low-carbon industries.
This is fair for employees and for companies who are being required to make fundamental changes. It will also ensure that there funding is available to train the increased number of entrants into low-carbon progressive industries.
Tax High Carbon Resources
Introduce a tax on producers that use high carbon resources in their manufacturing processes.
Tax will make it less attractive for manufacturers using high carbon resources such as cements, heavy metals, and steel which will in turn encourage a circular economy.
It will also target the use of virgin resources, encouraging the use of recycled and reprocessed materials where possible to avoid increased costs. We believe it is important because these resources contribute a very high proportion of emissions.
Carbon Land Tax
Introduce a carbon land tax which taxes emissions created through land use and penalise land currently emitting more carbon than it captures.
This recommendation hopes to target land not being used productively. Land owners would be incentivised to change land use, to reduce carbon consumption and increase carbon capture to avoid paying this tax.
We believe this would encourage use of the land for the common good and also target unfair or unproductive landownership in Scotland.
Frequent Flyer Tax or Levy
Discourage air travel by introducing a frequent flyer tax or levy.
This recommendation aims to address the unfairness of frequent flyers causing disproportionate emissions.
One way we think it could work would be, for example, allowing people one return journey untaxed per year anywhere in the world, and then any additional flights would incur a frequent flyers tax.
We recognise that there may be legitimate reasons for making exceptions to the tax, like necessary flights for medical treatment or in urgent personal circumstances, and that that would be fair.
Overall however we believe it would be quite simple to introduce and likely to be effective in reducing the number of flights.
Beverley, Assembly Member
“I was shocked to learn about the amount of people that are flying, that so many flights are taken by a small percentage of the population. I think the frequent flyer levy, if it’s implemented in the right way, is very important. It’s irresponsible of that small minority of people to damage the planet so much. We also learnt at the same time that aeroplanes, because they’re burning their fuel at altitude, are probably much more damaging to the atmosphere. So I thought it was really important to reduce the amount of flights in the air. “
Jocelyn, Assembly Member
“I most strongly support those recommendations that will have a direct and immediate effect on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. These include taxes on high carbon food sources, forms of transport that rely on fossil fuels, and inefficient land use. “
Food Carbon Tax and Subsidy
Introduce a carbon tax on food, based on the carbon intensity of food production, and use the revenue to subsidise sustainable foods.
The tax will encourage consumers to change their diet by making carbon intensive products more expensive, while the subsidies will make carbon neutral foods more affordable.
This balance will be important for ensuring that it does not have a negative consequence of people on lower incomes being able to afford quality, healthy foods.
We believe this recommendation will also encourage producers to be more carbon neutral and make consumers to be more aware of their carbon consumption. In the long term it should help make food production more sustainable and encourage consumption of local produce, where this has been sustainably produced.
Carbon Tax and Dividend
Introduce a carbon tax and dividend scheme - based on the polluter pays principle - so that for every tonne of CO2 emitted you pay a tax.
This is, we believe, of necessity a long term ambition however we ask government to consider how such a scheme could be implemented.
We learnt that there are different models for implementation being discussed across the world and that in practical terms the tax is normally applied to the supplier with the costs passed on to the consumers through higher prices.
This makes it much easier to collect and the government then returns the tax revenue to people on an equal per capita basis. This means people have the choice whether to spend their carbon dividend, to cover activities that have high carbon costs, or save the money for other, more sustainable uses.
We think this is both fair and effective as it treats everyone equally and would make carbon taxes more acceptable to the public by giving them a reward for lowering their personal carbon footprint.
Tax High Carbon Aviation Fuels
Reduce the incentives to fly by introducing tax on high carbon aviation fuels and making it mandatory that this cost is passed on to the customer in their ticket price.
We believe that this would deliver significant behaviour changes across society and have a positive impact on reducing overall carbon emissions caused by flying.
It will address issues of tax fairness, as currently those who don’t fly are subsidising those who do fly.
Increase Road Tax to Subsidise Public Transport
Phase in increased road taxes for private car use and use the revenue to subsidise public transport.
Transportation is one of the major sources of carbon emissions in both production and in use. Our aim in this recommendation is to progressively decrease the number of cars on the road, thereby reducing emissions generated in the production and use of cars.
This tax also could have the impact of making people choose to limit their car ownership to one per household, promote fuel switching and the use of different travel modes. We do recognise however that this would need to be phased in so as not to disadvantage those who are currently car dependent, and in the interest of fairness, some exclusions might have to apply.
Business and government to adopt a measurement framework for success that incorporates sustainability, well-being and happiness alongside profit.
Incorporating wellbeing measures (e.g. the National Performance Framework) alongside Gross Domestic Product (GDP) supports fairer and more balanced policies.
We should learn from other countries, for example the Happiness Index in New Zealand, that there are other ways to measure our success as a nation.