Ministerial Statement to Parliament on Scotland's Climate Assembly
Scottish Government Ministers will update the Scottish Parliament in March 2022 on the progress of Scotland’s Climate Assembly in what will be a key marker of the Government’s appetite to answer challenges Members raised at the Assembly’s final session.
At the Assembly’s eight and final weekend in early February, Members published a Statement of Response calling for robust new accountability measures to assess Scotland’s progress towards tackling the climate emergency.
Ministers’ March update to Parliament will be the first since the session, and comes on the back of a spell of constructive engagement with the Assembly, with members having met a total of 20 Ministers across a series of meetings ahead of the Scottish Government’s detailed response to Assembly recommendations published in December 2021.
More recently, Patrick Harvie, the Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights, and Richard Lochhead, the Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, attended the final session to answer Members’ questions as Assembly members shaped their priorities for the Assembly’s Statement of Response to Government.
Turning their focus towards the Assembly’s legacy and sustaining the impact of their, Members challenged the Scottish Government to commit to annual check-ins with the Assembly, and proposed a new scorecard system with 10 key performance indicators to bring added accountability.
“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.”
Assembly co-convenor Ruth Harvey spoke of the legacy of members’ work in the aftermath of the final session:
“There is a huge amount of hope and potential for the future summed up in the response of the Assembly today.
“The real legacy of this process will be in how the Assembly is empowered to continue its courageous work, along with the Children’s Parliament, through annual check-ins with the Scottish Government.
“It’s a bit like the COP26 process which requires nations to make a regular commitment to meet together to account for their actions. An Assembly of over one hundred citizens of Scotland has asked for similar accountability internally within Scotland.”
As well as calling for new accountability mechanisms, the Assembly challenged the Government to go further with actions across a range of areas, including 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, and supporting people with low incomes in accessing public transportation.
The Scottish Parliament’s Public Gallery remains closed due to COVID restrictions, but interested observers can follow Ministers’ update regarding Scotland’s Climate Assembly on March 1st at 2.20pm on Scottish Parliament TV.