Holyrood’s Climate Emergency Summit

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 “As we leave Glasgow, our code word is going to be implementation, follow-up and follow-through” – John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

A year on from COP26 in Glasgow, the focus must move to tangible delivery if we are to achieve our ambitious climate goals.

As the first nation in the world to declare a climate emergency, and with significant net-zero targets, Scotland is recognised as a global climate leader.

Scotland has the climate recovery ambition, but with challenging 2030 targets to reach to address both the climate and nature emergency, now it is time to deliver.

In the midst of this decade of delivery’, delegates joined Holyrood for our annual Climate Emergency Summit.

The event showcased examples of best practice from across Scotland and its public sector, demonstrating how we can translate climate targets into climate action.

  • Day one looked at how we can reach net-zero within the most challenging sectors in Scotland including: housing; transport; energy and buildings; and agriculture.
  • Day two explored the ambitious targets and action being taken to address nature in the climate emergency crisis, and develop Scotland’s green finance and the circular economy.

Across the two days we:

  • Discussed what progress Scotland is making relative to its ambition on both the climate and nature crises; identified policy and delivery gaps; and outlined what can be done to accelerate the transition in these areas
  • Explored how Scotland’s public sector can move from developing net-zero strategies to delivering them
  • Outlined sectoral pathways to 2030 and beyond
  • Made the explicit link between the climate and nature crises, recognising that we cannot solve the climate crisis without also tackling the crisis in nature
  • Highlighted Scotland’s role on the world stage as a global climate leader and exemplar of net-zero ambition, innovation and thought-leadership
  • Shone a spotlight on climate resilience and adaptation, not just mitigation.
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Peter McCafferty
Zero Waste Scotland
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Douglas Martin
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Sam Chapman
Fiona Lindsay
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Claire Cherrington
Lloyds Banking Group
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Dr Keith Baker
Pattiesmuir | Glasgow Caledonian University
Paul McLennan MSP
The Scottish Parliament
Craig Mclay
Lloyds Banking Group
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Stuart Greig
Transport Scotland
Bruce Wilson
Bruce Wilson
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Alex Meredith -1
Alex Meredith
SSE Renewables
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Lisa Christensen
Scottish Development International
Brian O'Reilly
Brian O’Reilly
EGG Lighting
Karen McGregor
Karen McGregor
Ruth Taylor
Ruth Taylor
WWF Scotland
Clare Reid
Clare Reid
Maurice Golden
Maurice Golden MSP
Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
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Catriona Laing
The Scottish Government
Dr Mairi Davies
Dr Mairi Davies
Historic Environment Scotland
Prof. Winifred Ijomah
Scottish Institute for Remanufacturing
Dee Ward
Scottish Land & Estates
Finlay Carson MSP
The Scottish Parliament
Prof Dieter Helm
Prof. Sir Dieter Helm CBE
Stephen Good
Stephen Good
Colin Howden
Colin Howden
Transform Scotland
Dr Martin Valenti
South of Scotland Enterprise
Ronnie Quinn
Ronnie Quinn
Lord Offord of Garvel
Lord Offord
Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, UK Government
Dr. Deborah Long
Scottish Environment LINK
Jo Pike
Jo Pike
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Francesca Osowska
Claudia Rowse Headshot
Claudia Rowse
Abi Gardner Headshot
Abi Gardner
NatureScot | Climate 2050 Group
Frances Guy Headshot
Frances Guy
Scotland's International Development Alliance
Lolita Jackson Headshot
Lolita Jackson MBE
Sustainable Development Capital LLC (SDCL)
Chris Stark Headshot
Chris Stark
Committee on Climate Change
Claudia Beamish Headshot
Claudia Beamish
Scottish Labour
Michael Matheson MSP
The Scottish Government
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Heather Cowan
Transport Scotland
Iain Gulland
Zero Waste Scotland
Ross Armstrong
Sarah Boyack MSP
The Scottish Parliament
Daisy Narayanan
City of Edinburgh Council
Prof. James Curran MBE FRSE
Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde

The Committee on Climate Change noted that the UK is an international outlier, as the Net Zero Strategy amounts to a holistic plan for the delivery of climate goals. 

In this session, we will hear from the UK Government about Scotland’s role in leading the way internationally in delivering net zero.

With Scotland’s Government the first in the world to declare a Climate Emergency, the first to establish a dedicated Climate Justice Fund and having led the way at COP26 on loss and damage reparations, many would consider Scotland a global climate leader.

Yet, can a nation which still offshores much of its GHG emissions and is still a Fossil Fuel Superpower truly be considered a leader in climate action? Not to mention Scotland's highly-intensive, carbon-rich industrial past, which is the source of much of our national wealth.

In this session, we will discuss this disparity and the challenges it creates for Scotland's approach to climate action.

Scotland has to reduce its emissions from the transport sector by 56% by 2030 in order to meet our interim net zero targets. However, considering we’ve only seen a net reduction in emissions of 2.3% since 1990, and global transport emissions have increased by 40% in that time, the scale of this challenge is colossal, but so are the opportunities for Scotland if we get this right.   

In this session, we will discuss what has been done to curb transport emissions since 1990 and what still needs to be done to decarbonise transport, still the highest-emitting single sector in Scotland.  

Scotland’s ambitious Heat in Buildings Strategy seeks to achieve a 70% reduction in emissions in our buildings by 2030. This is well ahead of the rest of the UK and is backed by £1.8bn of funding over the course of this parliament.  

However, with the total cost of converting the building stock in Scotland by 2045 estimated to be in the region of £33bn, this can only feasibly be achieved by public-private partnerships. 

With the built environment the source of around 20% of Scotland’s emissions - and contributing much to the net emissions of our towns and cities - it is vital that we take steps to decarbonise it. In this session, we will discuss the actions that can achieve this, and highlight examples at home and overseas where decarbonisation is being delivered imaginatively and successfully.

To meet Scotland's world-leading interim climate target by 2030, we must reduce household emissions by 68% from 2020 levels. We are also still behind on Scotland's Heat in Buildings Strategy timeline that needs to see us decarbonising 200,000 homes a year in the latter years of this decade when the current conversion rate is just 2500 per year. 

While both Scotland’s Heat in Buildings Strategy and Fuel Poverty Act remain the most ambitious in the UK, there are tensions in the policy outcomes between decarbonising heat in our homes while reducing fuel poverty. If we are to deliver a Just Transition in Scotland, this issue goes to the very heart of that in a way that few others do.  

In this session, we will talk about solutions to these seemingly insurmountable policy challenges, including the roles of government, industry and the individual. We will discuss how the public and private sectors can come together to close the skills and funding gaps at the heart of this issue.

Scotland's manufacturing sector must decrease its emissions on a trajectory of 70% between 2019 – 2070 if we are to meet our global temperature targets. The future of the sector lies in making and selling low-carbon products. 

In this session, we will discuss how the manufacturing sector can decarbonise and explore the value of circularity. We will also spotlight some international examples of best practice.

Following the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s pioneering Monitoring Framework in the summer, we will hear from its Chief Executive about how Scotland can apply some of its principles in their upcoming Scottish progress report. 

We are in the midst of a nature crisis. This is a global problem, but with just 56% of Scotland’s biodiversity remaining intact and the UK as a whole faring even worse, it is also a particularly Scottish-British problem that we must address.

However, if we first protect, then restore and ultimately value nature, not only will we have regenerated our natural environment, but it can contribute to a reduction of around 40% of Scotland’s net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

This opening keynote from Francesca Osowska will examine the extent of the nature crisis in Scotland and highlight the work NatureScot and others are doing to address it.

Through the Edinburgh Process, Scotland showed that sub-state actors can, and in some cases are better placed to, take a political lead in tackling the nature crisis.

Scotland can and is leading the way with some of the most ambitious nature-climate solutions and projects in the world.

In this session, we will hear about some of the best practices and examples of climate-nature delivery in Scotland.

According to Professor Helm, there is nowhere in the world where natural capital is more important to its economy than Scotland. And with £15.6 worth of natural capital assets on our national balance sheet, you can see why. 

In this plenary address, Professor Helm will outline a vision for an economy in Scotland which is conducive to its status as a natural capital superpower relative to its population size. 

Transitioning to an economic model that operates within our planetary boundaries is the only way that we will be able to restore the natural environment. 

Scotland’s nature-based economy is growing, currently supporting 200,000 jobs. Still, the challenge of changing the way we operate within our current economic model based on produced capital to one that accentuates natural assets is enormous.   

In this session, we will examine both the policy and practical challenges in leading this change and some examples of the benefits that nature and climate solutions can offer businesses.

Agriculture is commonly regarded as the “hard-to-reach” sector in efforts to decarbonise our economy. As the third-largest emitting sector in Scotland, it is clear why we must aim to mitigate emissions from it. 

In this session, we will hear about some of the excellent work and partnerships happening right now to change how we use our land.

According to the United Nations, the extraction and processing of materials is responsible for about half the world’s carbon emissions, and 90% of biodiversity loss, yet around four-fifths (80%) of Scotland’s footprint comes from the products and materials we manufacture, use and throw away, with the average Scot consuming more than double the sustainable level of material use. 

The evidence is clear, our consumption is too high.  When it comes to everything we consume – from flights to food and fashion to furnishings – buying and wasting less would help to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on nature.  We need to change from a ‘make, use, dispose of’ culture, referred to as the linear economy, to a more circular economy where we maximise the value of products and materials we use to make them last as long as possible.  

Scottish businesses have a crucial role to play and the opportunity to be part of the solution. Businesses have the opportunity and ability to accelerate the transition by adopting more circular practices. Businesses are well-positioned to deliver impactful change from incorporating circular design principles and using sustainable, natural materials to developing innovative business models and shortening supply chains. 

Join Zero Waste Scotland in this session, as we exhibit businesses who are already playing their part in future-proofing our natural environment by adopting circularity, the key enabling role the public sector has and underlining the importance of partnership as we transition to becoming a net zero, circular nation.

In this closing keynote address, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport will sum up our deliberations over the past two days, update us on the Scottish Government’s climate agenda and look forward to what the future may hold.

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