Climate Crisis Takes a Backseat as New Government Economic Transformation Report Revealed

By William Angus

2nd March 2022

(Immediate climate justice was demanded by protestors during COP26. Photograph: Niall Houston)

The Scottish Government’s solutions to environmental issues are unclear as the Economic Transformation Report was released on March 1st to widespread criticism from environmental groups and academics.

The report outlines the Government’s ambitions for the Scottish economy in the next ten years, forecasting up to £8 billion in growth.

To achieve this, the Government will seek to transition the Scottish economy under five key policy areas, such as entrepreneurship and employment.

Only one of these policy areas was dedicated to developing a climate crisis response.

Environmental groups have condemned the report claiming to see little progress.

Sustainable Economy Adviser at Friends of the Earth, Matthew Crighton, said: “There is a lack of concrete ideas as to how its good intentions will be delivered. Everyone recognises the need to be greener and fairer but without any realistic plan to achieve these changes they will remain aspirational daydreams.”

“The focus on economic growth and entrepreneurship fails to show how this approach can deliver on these wider social and environmental benefits.”

As a result, environmental groups formed the ‘Transform Our Economy’ alliance that aspires for ‘wellbeing for all within environmental limits’.

The response received approval from thirty-eight leading academics, one of which was Professor Jan Webb, Professor of Sociology of Organisations at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Webb, said: “[The ‘Transform Our Economy’ alliance is] a transformative strategy, fit for addressing climate emergency and major inequalities, has to direct all economic action to achieving a fair, and sustainable, society.”

 “This means all investment prioritises decent work, zero waste, biodiversity and climate protection.”

However, the Scottish Government argue they are looking at a variety of aspects to improve the Scottish economy. Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, said: “[the report] will ensure Scotland is a fairer, wealthier and greener nation by 2032”.

“We choose to lead across economic, social and environmental goals – that is what we mean by a Wellbeing Economy.”

This report comes as a recent UN IPCC report also reinforced the same need for nations to move away from fossil fuels and transform economies towards net zero targets.

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