It is a privilege to present the Scottish Government’s response to Scotland’s Climate Assembly, our second national assembly in Scotland and the first to focus solely on the climate emergency.
The Scottish Government remains committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change. We will do so by 2045, in a way that is just and fair. As we embrace the significant changes needed to meet our ambitious targets, we must bring Scottish society with us. As representatives of our nation, Scotland’s Climate Assembly told us how the Scottish public want us to meet net zero. The diversity of members from across Scottish society is reflected in the cross-government approach we have taken in our response, and the cross-party approach we must take to implement these changes.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Assembly members have learned from experts and each other, developing ambitious recommendations for Scotland to change to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way. These recommendations have challenged us, in government, to do more, setting set out a vision for our shared future.
This response sets out the actions we are taking to meet those recommendations, and where we will go further in those areas where the Assembly has encouraged us to be bold.
The recommendations will support us in addressing the fundamental challenge that faces all countries – to transition from fossil fuels to renewable and low carbon alternatives as quickly as possible while ensuring that the transition is a just one.
We are taking action across the board. We will roll out support for a new network of sharing libraries across Scotland, enabling people to reduce consumption by borrowing rather than buying items and making these services accessible for our communities. We will work with landowners in Scotland, increasing woodland creation and peatland restoration. We will integrate emissions and emission reduction topics into our education programmes across the country, ensuring people of all ages have access to climate change learning.
It is critical that we get this right. We must act urgently and decisively, but in the right way. We have set out the need to explore feasibility or consult further where necessary, and as we work towards net zero, we will ensure the Assembly's recommendations continue to guide our decision-making as a statement from the people of Scotland.
These recommendations show strong support for leaders to act with urgency, and make the difficult decisions needed for Scotland to become a net zero nation. In the wake of COP26 in Glasgow, and the new Glasgow Climate Pact, it could not be more critical to hear from the people of Scotland. As the Scottish Government acted as a bridge between those outside of the negotiations, and those inside, so too can the Assembly provide a bridge between government and the rest of society.
To the Assembly members – thank you. I hope you are encouraged to see that the Scottish Government’s climate action is strongly aligned with the recommendations. You have been part of something truly historic which will guide the future of our country. Through a tremendous amount of hard work you have demonstrated what can be achieved when people from across Scotland come together to learn, discuss and deliberate on the challenges that face us as we tackle the climate emergency. You have set an example that we, as a nation, must follow.
I am delighted to support this package of recommendations from Scotland’s Climate Assembly.
Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP First Minister of Scotland