First Stage Debate on the new Climate Bill

The Scottish Government’s new Climate Bill has it’s first stage debate at Holyrood on Tuesday 2nd April.  As it stands the bill is severely lacking in ambition and fails to measure up to the challenge set by the recent IPCC report.  Rather than take large scale action over the next decade the bill sets the target of a 90% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  This is simply not good enough.  ScotE3 supports the rally outside the Parliament that has been called for 12.30pm on the 2nd.


Action points and information from the March 21st Scot.E3 meeting


Climate Jobs Bloc on the Edinburgh and Glasgow May Day marches (4thMay Edinburgh, 5thMay Glasgow).  PC and KW to liaise over text of invite to unions and environmental activists to join the march.  PS has spoken to graphic designer about producing artwork for a climate jobs banner.

On Sunday May 5th there will be a Book fair at the Kirkgate Community Centre in Leith as part of the May Day events.  We could have a side room to show films/ hold discussions.  Agreed that perhaps we should have two fixed times for discussion.  REEL News may be able to attend. More details to follow.

BP explained about the ‘Lucas Plan’ group in England. We’ve been invited to speak on Just Transition at a conference in Manchester on April 13th.  BP can attend – DS may also be able to – anyone not at the meeting who is interested in going please email to let us know.

Draft of blog post responding to the GMB’s criticism of the Just Transition Commission is now complete – agreed to circulate more widely and then publish after any further amendments are made.

STUC conference in Dundee 15th – 17thApril.  We’ll speak at a joint fringe meeting with Scottish CND. Joe Pisani has agreed to speak. PC will check if it’s possible to have another contribution to say something about ScotE3.  Agreed that we should prioritise having a woman speaker for this.  Please let us know if you are going to be at the conference or can attend to help with leafleting.

We’ve been invited to speak to the Edinburgh Green Party on Climate Jobs and Just Transition on Thursday 25 April.  Agreed that it would be useful to focus on these issues in terms of local action – eg housing.   We can do this as a collective contribution rather than just one voice so if you’d be interested in helping please email.

Agreed to publicise and support the Climate Rally at the Scottish Parliament on 2ndApril, 12.30 to 2pm as MSPs discuss the new Climate Bill.

Agreed that discussion on an autumn conference should be a main agenda point at the next organising meeting

Agreed that over the next few days we would work on two new blog posts/briefings – one on the Energy from Waste Schemes that are currently being built and one on the proposed State Energy Company – if you’d like to contribute to either of these projects please email to let us know.


It’s planned that the next Glasgow meeting will be a public meeting on Public ownership.

Glasgow activists are looking to source Scot.E3 tee-shirts

Recent posts on the Scot.E3 blog include ‘Reflections on BiFab’, ‘Unlocking the jobs potential of zero carbon’ and “Fuel Poverty, Energy and the fight for Climate Jobs’

After it’s first meeting future meetings of the Just Transition Commission will be on themed topics.

Next School Students Strikes are Friday 12 April

Reflections on BiFab

…working people, their lives, livelihoods, skills and commitment are central to tackling the climate crisis …

Occupying for jobs

In December 2017 BiFab workers from Burntisland, Methil and Lewis staged the biggest industrial protest in Scotland for many years. With site occupations and a mass protest to Holyrood, they forced the Scottish government to secure funding for the remaining contracts building jackets for the new Moray Firth wind farm. For a brief moment it seemed that jobs had been saved and BiFab might become an exemplar of the much-needed transition from offshore oil and gas to wind and tidal energy.


Hopes dashed

Hope was short-lived. Of a workforce of 1,400, only some 390 workers were in direct employment: the rest were on short-term agency contracts. In early 2018 there was a rapid run down of employment as contracts were not renewed and the Moray Firth contract was completed. A Canadian company acquired BiFab and the Scottish government converted its loan into equity, but no new orders were found. By May 2018 only 43 workers were left and a further 35 redundancies meant that only a handful were left to maintain the yards.

The need for political intervention

Behind the scenes the new owners, with the support of the Scottish government have been bidding for contracts to produce turbine jackets and platforms for the new Moray East and Kincardine offshore wind developments. But this month hopes of renewed large-scale employment were dashed when it emerged that these contracts had gone to companies in the UAE, Belgium and Spain. All that remains is 82 jobs at Arnish on the Isle of Lewis. Unite Scotland Secretary Pat Rafferty commented:

“Ten years ago we were promised a ‘Saudi Arabia of Renewables’ but today we need political intervention to help level the playing field in Scottish offshore renewables manufacturing. The truth is that state funded European energy and engineering firms, backed by Far East finance and Middle East sovereign wealth funds, are carving-up thousands of jobs and billions of pounds from our renewables sector, and firms like BiFab are left fighting for scraps off our own table.”

Missed opportunity

We are at a critical moment, when rapid action to mitigate catastrophic climate change is essential. To move towards a zero carbon economy the marine engineering skills of the BiFab workers are vital. We know that transition needs around 100,000 new climate jobs in Scotland. BiFab is a missed opportunity for action that effectively sets us back by more than a thousand jobs.

A just transition

Could things have been different? For a few days in December 2017 the BiFab workers inspired many beyond their ranks. The Scottish government’s rapid response reflected the strength of feeling and the severity of the jobs crisis. But fatally it depended on the private sector. In our view the scale of the climate crisis cannot be left to the vagaries of the market. We are not alone in this view and indeed the Scottish Government’s proposal for a state run energy company is in part recognition that public intervention is required. However, the current proposals are limited to taking the role of an alternative energy supplier. Much more is needed. We argue for a strategic, integrated and planned approach that encompasses production, infrastructure and distribution. BiFab could have been the first building block of this strategy.

The point of this article, however, is not to muse about might have beens. The school student strikes and the growth of Extinction Rebellion have highlighted the need for urgent action. In our view urgency requires that every possibility for action be pursued. Just Transition isn’t an abstract idea. It means understanding that working people, their lives, livelihoods, skills and commitment are central to tackling the climate crisis. Vast sums of money were used to bail out the banks, trillions of dollars were spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – the cost of keeping the BiFab workers in publicly run, regulated and decently paid employment would have been trivial in comparison. Let’s learn from this and ensure that the agenda in the coming months becomes the creation of new jobs and not a lament for jobs laid waste.



‘Unlocking the job potential of zero carbon’

‘Unlocking the job potential of zero carbon’ from the Green European Foundation is a valuable addition to the evidence base that a socially just transition to a zero carbon economy is practical and possible.   The authors model the impact on jobs, short-term (during the transition) and long term, of moving to zero carbon by 2030. The estimates they provide are conservative – they don’t consider the additional employment that would be created by the additional economic activity – they don’t consider jobs in the supply chain and they don’t include activity for which rigorous data is unavailable.

The new report’s approach is not identical to the work done by the Campaign Against Climate Change published in the Million Climate Jobs Pamphlet. However, their forecasts for the whole of the UK are very similar.   They expect 980,000 additional jobs will be required during the transition reducing to 710,000 after zero carbon is reached. New jobs are calculated on a regional basis with a full breakdown available in the report’s appendix. The number of new jobs during the transition is estimates as 60,946 falling to 26,905 in the long-term.






Fuel Poverty, Energy and the fight for Climate Jobs

Stage one of the Scottish Government’s Fuel Poverty Bill was completed on 20th February 2019. In our view the bill is not ambitious enough. We risk missing an important opportunity to reduce carbon emissions, create new climate jobs and strike a blow for social justice. Ending Fuel Poverty could and should be part of the Just Transition to a zero carbon economy that we need. We will publish more on this in the coming weeks – contributions are welcome.

Here are Marlyn Tweedie’s thoughts on the subject.

On Feb 15th, school children, all over Europe, came out on strike in protest at the catastrophic future they face because of climate change.

We need to make big changes re. our energy sources if we are to slow down climate change.

What if we could use sustainable energy sources to reverse climate change damage and provide cheaper fuel? Wouldn’t this be a win- win solution?

Fuel Poverty In Scotland

Over 25% of households live in fuel poverty – defined as spending 10% or more of your income on fuel bills, or, if, after paying for fuel, your income is below the poverty line.

In rural Scotland, the extent of fuel poverty is higher. A 2016 report states that in accessible rural areas, there is 35% fuel poverty and in remote areas, the figure is 45%.

Regarding extreme fuel poverty, the comparable figures are 7% for Scotland, as a region; 12% in accessible rural areas and 28% in remote areas.

Low income, high energy costs and poorly insulated homes result in this appalling situation where families, young people, elderly, disabled and many working people cannot afford adequate warmth.

A situation, which, it is estimated, contributes to 5,500 deaths a year.

What Can Be Done?

Fuel poverty would be best approached as part of a radical change in energy policy.

Scotland has an abundance of renewable energies – in the form of wave, wind and tidal energy.

The costs are cheaper. Current gas and oil costs are between 4p and 12p per kilowatt hour. Renewables are between 2p and 7p.

If, alongside a switch to renewables. A mass insulation campaign was implemented, carbon emissions could be cut by 95%.

The Campaign against Climate Change notes Three quarters of emissions from houses and flats are caused by heating air and water. To reduce this we need to insulate and draught- proof buildings and replace inefficient boilers. This can cut the amount of energy used by about 40% and delivers the double whammy of reducing energy costs and helping mitigate the scourge of fuel poverty.

It is estimated that a campaign to insulate all homes in Scotland would employ 20,000 construction workers for the next 20 years.

Further reading – the ScotE3 briefing on Fuel Poverty


Image by climatejusticecollective CC BY 2.0