SCOTLAND’S economy can go green while driving a new ‘industrial revolution’ with the help of new Future Jobs Fund to help the unemployed and a publicly owned ethical construction company. That is the vision of trade unionists as calls are made for wide-ranging reforms and sustained stimulus as part of the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, urging the government to learn lessons from the first post-war Labour government. A new report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents most UK unions, says concerns over soaring public debt are overblown and calls for austerity cuts misplaced. But it highlights going green as part of a recovery that would cut carbon emissions and create jobs, while including support for investment in clean industry and transport, making buildings net-zero, carbon capture and storage. The plan would also seek to take better advantage of Scotland’s green energy revolution, which the Herald revealed was increasingly being placed in the hands of overseas firms. The Scottish government has set itself a legally-binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045, five years ahead of the date set for the UK as a whole. But experts say to manage this it is vital we cut the energy required for domestic space and hot-water heating to a minimum and use only zero-carbon sources. An upgrade to our existing housing stock to be become energy-efficient means improving the fabric of the buildings. “Scotland’s housing stock, with a high proportion of tenement properties, is not the easiest to retrofit with energy saving measures such as insulation and new heating systems, however progress on deep retrofit has been identified as one of the key elements in achieving net zero,” he said. The Scottish Government’s low carbon strategy described the large scale development of offshore wind as representing the “biggest opportunity for sustainable economic growth in Scotland for a generation” with Scotland having an estimated 25% of Europe’s offshore wind potential. But in February, it emerged that it had in fact created just six per cent of the 28,000 direct jobs predicted. Official estimates stated that there were just 1,700 full-time jobs in the offshore wind sector in Scotland, a fraction of the numbers projected by 2020.
Herald 24th May 2020 read more »