Scotland is rightly proud of it's ground breaking climate change legislation. In 2009 the largest civil society coalition Scotland has ever seen, campaigned successfully for legally binding targets to reduce Scotland’s climate change emissions. UNISON Scotland was pleased to be part of that coalition.
However, as is often the case in politics, there is a but as this video shows. The most recent emissions data for Scotland showed that not only had the targets for emissions reductions for that year been missed, but that greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland had actually increased by 2%. This is despite the recession that would have a downward impact on the numbers, even without government action. The Scottish Government’s action plans to meet the climate change targets have fallen short and there is a real contradiction with plans to boost oil output and other spending that will increase carbon emissions. Tom Ballantine's piece in the Scotsman explains this in more detail.
We all accept that this isn't easy. UNISON focused on two areas where we warned the planned actions would not match the rhetoric. As we predicted the public duty guidance has turned out to be a toothless document, gathering dust on shelves. Heroic leadership models simply don't work. Climate change action needs to be built up from the bottom and the plans failed to recognise the key role of workers in driving effective action.
And that leads to our second point. Most emissions come from workplaces, therefore any strategy that ignores that fact is bound to fail. Green workplace initiatives have worked well when they have been run, demonstrating worker support for tacking serious action. But they have simply not been encouraged or supported at the level required.
If you cant get to today's parliamentary lobby organised by SCCS, write to your MSP, tweet or take some other action to help show that people across Scotland still care about climate change.