SCOTLAND'S Climate Assembly is calling for robust new accountability measures to assess Scotland’s progress towards tackling the climate emergency.

The assembly has challenged the Scottish Government to commit to annual check-ins with the assembly, and outlined a new scorecard system with 10 key performance indicators to bring added accountability.

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Last year, the assembly set out 16 goals and 81 recommendations for how Scotland should tackle the climate emergency in a fair and effective way. The Scottish Government published its response in December, including a foreword by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and a range of actions it now intends to take in response to the Climate Assembly’s work.

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As well as putting forward new proposals for public scrutiny, the assembly called for the Scottish Government to go further with actions across a range of areas –including low carbon procurement for public sector catering, education on sustainable diets, carbon labelling of products, increasing public control of land, retrofitting of homes to prevent fuel poverty, higher taxes for frequent fliers, banning single use plastics, and supporting people with low incomes in accessing public transportation.

Ahead of agreeing their response last weekend, the assembly put questions to Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights, and Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work.

“We want the Scottish Government to create a scorecard for Scotland with ten key performance indicators (decided by independent experts) with clear numerical and measurable targets based on areas of greatest impact on climate change,” reads the assembly’s statement.

“This information should be updated bi-annually in an easily accessible and understandable format, and published in a one-pager.”

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“We strongly believe the [Scottish] Government can upscale their current commitments further to meet the ambitions of our recommendations and shorten their current timescales. Going forward we expect the Government to ensure that we can hold them accountable for this via an annual review.”

The statement also calls on the Scottish Government to do more with its existing powers under the devolution settlement to tackle the climate emergency, saying: “We believe that the Scottish Government has failed to test how far it can utilise existing powers to deliver and needs to do so.”

Scotland’s Climate Assembly is a “mini-Scotland” with over 100 members broadly representative of the country in terms of age, gender, household income, ethnicity, geography, rurality, disability, and attitude towards climate change.

The assembly heard from over 100 speakers and spent more than 60 hours learning and deliberating the evidence, to find common ground on how Scotland can tackle the climate emergency in a fair and effective way.

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It was the first such body anywhere in the world to incorporate the views of children, who joined in as Climate Investigators with the Children’s Parliament.

The assembly’s report, published in June 2021, sets out 81 recommendations agreed by an overwhelming consensus of members for tackling the climate emergency in a fair and effective way.

These recommendations cover a broad range of issues including domestic heating, emissions, environmental impact in public procurement, land use and agriculture, taxation, transport (including air travel) and the economy.

The assembly’s recommendations for action found broad support across the country. Scotland’s Civic Charter on Climate showed backing from the likes of the University of Aberdeen, City of Edinburgh Council, Oxfam Scotland, Iona Community, John Muir Trust, Rock Rose Gin, National Express, Scotland’s national makar Kathleen Jamie, and bestselling crime writer Val McDermid.

Assembly co-convenor Ruth Harvey said: “There is a huge amount of hope and potential for the future summed up in the response of the Climate Assembly today.”

“The real legacy of this process will be in how the Assembly is empowered to continue its courageous work, along with the Children’s Parliament, through annual check-ins with the Scottish Government.”

“It’s a bit like the COP26 process which requires nations to make a regular commitment to meet together to account for their actions. An assembly of over one hundred citizens of Scotland has asked for similar accountability internally within Scotland.”