Environment reps can help Scotland achieve emissions targets

Environment reps can help Scotland achieve emissions targets

The Scottish Climate Change Act 2009 set a target to reduce Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The act also established an interim target to reduce emissions by at least 42% by 2020.

Secondary legislation has set annual targets, but Scotland has failed to meet these for four years. The most recent figures showed that the country emitted 53 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (mtCO2e) against a target of 48 mtCO2e in 2013.

A recent report on the Scottish government’s consultation on introducing climate change reporting for public sector bodies found that 92% of respondents supported mandatory reporting on climate change.

Mandatory reporting rules will apply to around 150 organisations and replace existing voluntary measures. Other public bodies will be asked to continue to report voluntarily.

The Scottish government hopes annual reporting will improve the quality and consistency of data, and, by making the information public, help Scotland get back on track on meeting its annual carbon reduction targets.

Prospect has produced a briefing on The Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015.

Why climate change is a trade union issue

Prospect’s environment and climate change policy reflects Scotland’s ambition. We believe climate change is a trade union matter because the move to a low-carbon economy:

  • has massive implications for jobs
  • has huge economic consequencesis linked to many Prospect policies such as staff well-being, health and safety, skills and international development, and
  • has implications for the working environment.

How union environment reps can make a difference

The act acknowledges the role of trade unions and requires the programme to set out the arrangements for involving employers, trade unions and other stakeholders in meeting Scottish ministers’ objectives.

Prospect evidence shows that elected representatives make a positive contribution to embedding the new approaches and behaviours that will contribute to reducing Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 11,500 Prospect members live and work in Scotland. We believe that involving our environment representatives in climate change adaptation plans would:

  • embed the partnership approach and widen stakeholder engagement
  • provide a platform for consultation with trained, elected representatives
  • contribute to business and operational efficiency
  • contribute to positive behavioural change through shared learning across Prospect’s networks
  • ensure that plans have equal weighting between staff and financial considerations, and
  • provide an additional layer of transparency and accountability to plans, activities and reporting.