IF we are going to tackle the climate emergency and build a new greener Scotland, it will require us to both clean up our act and get our hands dirty, in a manner of speaking.

Because a low-carbon future doesn’t mean abandoning industry. Far from it. In fact, Scotland has the potential to enter a new industrial age.

Industrial processes and heavy engineering are notoriously dirty, both from a practical point of view and from an environmental point of view, but that can change.

Our Scottish Green New Deal shows that Industry can be “clean” in the sense of sustainable, while still being “dirty” in the sense of maintaining a jobs-heavy, engineering, manufacturing and fabrication base.

What is needed is a solid plan to move us away from the polluting, carbon-emitting industries that threaten our climate, the species and the ecology of our planet, to industries that can support us long into the future. Industries that will supply our energy, transportation, building and housing needs for generations to come. Industries that will employ us, our children and our grandchildren.

While urgently required, the move away from oil and gas extraction and from dependence on these fuels for heating and transportation, doesn’t need to be accompanied by job losses or the destruction of communities, like Scotland saw under Thatcher in the 1980s.

That’s because industry can work for the greater whole without consuming the finite resources of our planet.

The Scottish Greens have a plan for a national green industrial strategy which includes building more railways, wind and tidal turbines, higher standards of homes and buildings, research into new technologies and ensuring that well-paid jobs are created in Scotland and stay in Scotland.

We refer to this as a “Just Transition” that moves away from an economy based on extraction of oil and gas to one that is based on renewable energy and a circular economy, a shift that doesn’t exclude the needs of communities.

Indeed, the needs of workers and communities must be central to any industrial strategy. We can’t continue to let investments from big corporations dictate that jobs are taken offshore while they maximise profits, which will also end up offshore.

The state has to play a more active role. Communities need to receive income from local projects through shared ownership and companies must commit to Scottish jobs and Scottish supply chains.

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We know that Scotland needs to build, manufacture and export in order to stand on its own as an independent country. This means supporting good businesses that meet fair work standards, pay living wages and meet high environmental standards. It means making it easier to get consent for sustainable developments and projects, but placing the climate emergency a material consideration in any planning decisions.

We believe that energy should be fully devolved, allowing Scotland to build the energy system of the future we need and want. This would unlink us from white elephants like the Hinkley Point Nuclear station and enable Scottish industry to flourish. It would mean we can build local and community power projects, install subsea cables where they are needed to export renewable electricity from Shetland and Orkney and to Europe from the Scottish mainland.

Westminster refusal to invest in these things or to allow devolution of energy has shackled Scotland’s potential and kept our industry small. It doesn’t have to be like this. An independent Scotland can be a renewable energy powerhouse and rejoin Europe as an independent and economically successful country.

But while independence can help Scotland realise its potential, the work to build our low-carbon industrial base can start now.

In our manufacturing report, the Scottish Greens have shown how a New Deal could fund manufacturing firms to retain and upskill their workforce behind low carbon industries.

Take, for example, our £22 billion plans to upgrade Scotland’s railways network. This plan shows the Scottish Greens mean business when we talk about driving down climate emissions while creating jobs. RAIL magazine called our report “measured, objective and genuinely aspirational”, praising the Scottish Greens for recognising how important our railway will be in delivering Scotland’s climate ambitions.

This would bring our railways into public ownership, allowing them to integrate with a bus network and create thousands of jobs in the process.

Another priority must be to make homes warmer. Currently a quarter of households in Scotland suffer fuel poverty. A new programme of deep-retrofits of inefficient homes, as seen in other European countries, would create thousands of jobs.

Current experimentations with low-carbon heat networks need to gather apace so that fewer and fewer houses rely on gas boilers. It’s incredible, when you think about it, that most new houses being built in Scotland now are relying on fossil fuels.

Building tidal turbines, wind turbines, railways and efficient homes is a dirty business. Those of us who work in these industries come home with grease and metal shavings on our coveralls and paint on our boots, but it is the dirt of hard work and achievement, not the dirt of pollution or environmental destruction. It’s good dirt. Let’s make more of it.