Taking action on climate change
To mark Climate Change Week and Scottish Housing Day, Cassandra Dove, SFHA Research and Policy Lead, takes a look at recent action by the Scottish Government and the social housing sector to tackle climate change and increase public awareness of the climate emergency.
This week marks Scotland’s Climate Week, an annual Scottish Government event which has been running since 2016 to help raise awareness of the global climate emergency and the action being taken in Scotland to tackle climate change. This also coincides with today’s annual Scottish Housing Day, which, this year, focusses the role of housing in addressing the climate emergency. With both events taking place in the run up to COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, which is taking place in Glasgow, now is a good time to reflect on Scotland’s progress to date and the further action needed to increase public awareness of climate-related issues.
While we await the final version of the Scottish Government’s Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change, some important activities have already begun. For example, earlier this year, Scotland’s first Climate Assembly brought together people from across the country to explore how to tackle the climate emergency in an effective and fair way. The recently launched #LetsDoNetZero campaign will also continue during the current parliament to help raise awareness of Scotland’s net zero targets, while a specific COP26 community engagement programme commenced earlier this month, with the aim of targeting communities that have not previously engaged in climate action.
Following the recent co-operation agreement between the SNP and Scottish Greens, the 2021/22 Programme for Government also makes important commitments on ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change. Crucially, this has been published alongside a detailed response to the Just Transition Commission report, and the Scottish Government has committed to implementing the 24 recommendations put forward by the commission to ensure the path to a net zero is achieved in a way that delivers fairness while also tackling inequality and injustice.
From a social housing perspective, the report by the Zero Emissions Social Housing Taskforce (ZEST) also reinforced the importance of a just transition and the opportunities for the social sector to attract investment, create jobs in the green economy, and improve the warmth and comfort of homes to tackle both climate change and fuel poverty together. However, significant challenges remain in identifying the appropriate technical solutions as well as securing the necessary investment necessary for upgrades to homes, in addition to ensuring that tenants are fully supported in the journey to net zero. SFHA’s Energy Conference which is taking place next Tuesday (21 September) will explore these challenges, and potential solutions, in more detail and look at how we can implement the ZEST recommendations. Book your place here if you would like to take part in these discussions.
Other SFHA events on climate change:
Friday 17 September: A webinar session with the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust will also take place on Friday focusing Delivering net zero affordable homes through offsite construction Strategy.