A GROUP of civic and business leaders have today set out an eight-point plan containing the practical solutions it says the Scottish Government should implement now in order to move the country towards a net-zero economy post Covid-19.

The Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) says the key actions recommended in its report show how climate emergency can “be a thread” throughout the Government’s economic recovery plan. Organisations supporting CERG’s work include the Green Investment Bank, the National Farmers’ Union Scotland, Poverty Alliance, Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Scottish Power, Scottish Renewables, the Scotch Whisky Association, the Woodland Trust Scotland and WWF Scotland.

The group said it welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitments to a green recovery which supports a transition towards a greener, net-zero and wellbeing economy.

The report from the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery published last month said that: “Responding to climate change needs to be a thread through every policy action.”

CERG proposes four priority areas and four strategies that it says can both help the economy to recover and set Scotland on a course for net-zero climate emissions. The group says it eight proposals would reap a wide range of benefits including jobs, improved health and wellbeing and addressing inequalities as well as reduced carbon emissions.

The four priority areas are: retrofitting buildings for a net-zero Scotland; a rural jobs creation programme; green enterprise support; and a city and town infrastructure transformation programme.

The four strategies are: unlocking private investment with greater policy certainty; a green scrappage scheme; green future skills; and an expanded capital investment stimulus.

Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “A decade ago, governments around the world responded to the financial crisis with business as usual, with only 16% of the UK stimulus going to clean measures. We’re still reaping the consequences. We need to learn the lessons of the past and build back a better, greener and fairer economy that is resilient to the climate emergency accelerating before our eyes. A wealth of evidence shows that steps to make our economy lower carbon can secure jobs and bring other benefits like cleaner air, warmer homes and better health.”

Scottish Council for Development and Industry chief executive Sara Thiam said: “The economy is re-opening after huge disruption and there are clear opportunities to invest in green industries that can make our economy cleaner, more productive and resilient to future threats. We need, and future generations deserve, a just transition to a low-carbon future.”

Morag Watson, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “This report outlines pragmatic actions the Scottish Government could take as part of Scotland’s green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The report is in line with Scottish Renewables’s plans for a green economic recovery, which focus on accelerating the vital transition to renewable forms of heating and the introduction of a renewables transition training fund, among other actions.”