ACTION to tackle the climate emergency could also help Scotland’s economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Almost 150,000 jobs could be created if the Scottish Government committed to the green infrastructure projects necessary to cut the country’s carbon emissions, according to environmental experts.

Campaigners are now calling on good, green jobs to be put at the heart of the Programme for Government, which is due to be announced this week, arguing that the twin crises of the climate emergency and economic impact of Covid-19 need urgent intervention.

Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoE Scotland) has put forward a 10-point plan which, it believes, could not only create tens of thousands of good, green jobs but also build a fairer society.

As well as investment in national green infrastructure projects such as energy efficiency, sustainable transport and renewable heating, they are also calling for a ban on public money for fossil fuel developments – including carbon capture and storage and fossil-derived hydrogen. On top of this, they are calling for a budget review that shifts government spending away from polluting projects so that money earmarked for road expansion, for example, can be invested instead in public transport and broadband connectivity.

FoE Scotland also wants the Government’s proposed public energy company to be more than a supplier of energy so that it includes energy generation and has a role in tackling fuel poverty as well as the establishment of heat networks across the country.

The organisation’s intervention follows a demand from the STUC for government action following recent announcements of job losses at Alexander Dennis, the leading manufacturer of high-performance hybrid buses as well as the virtual mothballing of Bifab, Scotland’s offshore jacket construction company, and at CS Wind, the only turbine manufacturer.

“The Scottish Government could and should be doing much more to protect jobs like those under threat at bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis in Falkirk to ensure the benefits of green jobs are felt throughout a Scottish supply chain and the nearby communities,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of FoE Scotland.

​Tens of thousands of people have already lost their jobs in Scotland and the unemployment rate is expected to continue to rise.

“The employment and economic crisis caused by coronavirus is worsening every day so both the Scottish and UK governments must bring forward concrete plans for how they will create the good, green jobs needed by both people and the planet,” said Dr Dixon.

“A Green Jobs Recovery Plan could create thousands of jobs, ensuring everyone has warm homes, safe routes for walking and cycling and clean, reliable public transport.”

Warning that action on both jobs and climate was needed urgently, he said the Programme for Government was the first major opportunity for the Scottish Government to spell out how they would boost investment, create green jobs and set Scotland on a path to a “just and green” recovery.

“We see the worsening impacts of climate breakdown from fires in California to landslips in Scotland – there is no time to waste in creating the climate jobs that will help us exit this recession, reduce emissions and build a fairer economy,” said Dr Dixon.

“Scotland must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that none of the recovery money goes to new fossil fuel developments or high-carbon projects that will worsen the climate emergency.

‘‘Politicians cannot be seduced by the false solutions and false promises of the fossil fuel industry who are demanding public money for high-risk technologies like carbon capture or fossil-fuelled hydrogen.

“By mapping out the skills needed for a zero-carbon economy and then providing those training opportunities we can give people the skills they need to flourish as we move beyond fossil fuels.

“A Just and Green Recovery will invest in our public services, including the care service and our NHS, ensure an adequate income for everyone and put the wellbeing of Scotland’s citizens at the heart of our plans.”

Scotland’s new Climate Change Act sets targets for 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2045, but ​the Government is not yet on track to meet them, according to FoE Scotland.

The STUC is also calling for urgent action from both the UK and Scottish governments.

“Promises of a green recovery and a future jobs guarantee are worthless unless there is an industrial plan and investment strategy brought forward to deliver it – to transform our renewables supply chains, boost our competitiveness and sustain the prosperity of the workers and communities that depend upon them,” said STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer.

“The BiFab yards are effectively idle and we are continuing to hear pessimistic noises from developers and contractors .

“We have not been short of party-political sympathy in the battle to create decent green jobs.

‘‘But we have seen too little in terms of political action. If we are to find a new track to a better recovery, we need that action now.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to declare a global climate emergency and our actions since have substantiated that declaration. Our dedication to a net-zero emissions economy by 2045 is absolute. Through our Green New Deal, we are committed to a green economic recovery which creates quality jobs and improves the wellbeing of our citizens. The upcoming Programme for Government will set out the next steps for our green recovery and restate our commitment to a Green New Deal.”