One of the key issues we heard from oil and gas workers in Offshore was the high cost of training, borne by workers as more and more are forced into short-term contracts, posed a barrier to moving easily between similar offshore jobs in renewables as well as oil and gas.
This new survey shows that these workers are paying an average of over £1,800 a year in training costs, and among more results that:
97% are concerned about the UK’s offshore energy industry training costs
74.5% are employed ad-hoc as contractors
65% said their employer contributed 0% to their training costs including safety and first aid training in the past two years, which is up from 45% before 2015
94% of respondents said they would support an offshore passport, which licences accredited workers to work offshore in any sector through a cross-industry minimum training requirement.
2) Written responses from Drax to environmental campaigners during Drax’s BECCS public consultation in March which reveal that Drax’s “BECCS assumptions are not based on trials” & its BECCS pilot project with C-Capture was not using ‘proven technology’: https://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2021/drax-beccs-response/
There is a growing network of campaigns for a Green New Deal in the United States. This is an example from a newly established campaign in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. They are keen to get feedback from the wider network in the US and internationally.
Scot.E3 has signed up to a statement on the G7 summit that is taking place in Cornwall between the 11th – 13th of June. Please follow the link and add your name and if possible get your organisation to sign too.
G7 the world is watching
The countries meeting at the G7 in Cornwall between June 11th -13th comprise just 10% of the world’s population but hold 62% of the world’s wealth and spend more on their militaries than the rest of the world put together.
They are responsible for
– the lions share of historical carbon emissions
– and are still investing over $100 billion a year into coal, gas and oil.
If the world is to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown the G7 meeting needs not only to commit to
– single mindedly going flat out for domestic transition to sustainability, but also to
– stop financing and subsidising fossil fuels and
– pay its dues to the international community; including the $100 billion a year pledged at Copenhagen for the developing world to cope both with immediate climate impacts and to develop without fossil fuels and
– seek global co-operation not conflict.
Claims to “global leadership” will be judged the world over against these benchmarks.
Thanks to the People and Nature blog for alerting us to this excellent short video which sums up many of the reasons why the hype that surrounds hydrogen is so misguided. You can find links to a couple of longer articles on this issue on our ‘further reading‘ page and to blog posts here and here.
In April the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) published a new report ‘Green Jobs in Scotland’. written by Transition Economics. The headline finding is that the decarbonisation of the Scottish economy could lead to 367,000 new jobs. That’s about 16% of the number of workers employed currently in Scotland.
The jobs message is powerful but it’s not new. More than a decade ago the ‘Million Climate Jobs’ pamphlet looked at how large numbers of new jobs are essential to the transition to a zero-carbon economy. It estimated that a million new jobs are needed across the UK; scaled by population size this means around 100,000 jobs for Scotland. This prediction was confirmed by a December 2018 report by the Green European foundation, which provides regional estimates for job creation in Scotland. Six months later the Sea Change report showed how a planned run down of North Sea Oil and Gas could mean many more, new, skilled jobs in renewables. The STUC report adds to this body of evidence. However, the challenge remains for trade unionists and climate campaigners alike to take the evidence, make it widely known and build a mass movement to make it happen.
Green Jobs in Scotland comprises 103 pages of densely packed analysis covering six broad sectors of the Scottish economy. It’s important to note that it is not a critique of either the Scottish or UK’s policies on climate. It takes as given, for example, the fact that both governments’ have strategies based on large scale use of carbon capture and storage. What it does do, sector by sector, is take current targets and policy recommendations and analyse in detail what needs to change for decarbonisation targets to be achieved. The graphic illustrates how, in the best case scenario, 367,000 new jobs would be distributed across six major industry sectors.
The report repays careful reading, not just because it provides solid evidence to back up the case for climate jobs, but also because, working within mainstream assumptions about the economy it shines a light on significant dangers along the road to transition.
The Transition Economics team highlight the inadequacy of current climate action plans and argue that for targets to be achieved the Scottish Government’s timeline to meet its 2045 targets needs to be revised
Scotland’s net zero emissions by 2045 target, decarbonisation has to accelerate.
They also make it clear that, to date, the promise of jobs has been illusory. Indeed, job numbers in the renewable sector have been in decline. This is a direct result of policies that have relied on the market. And the report makes it clear, that while with the right policies and funding in place, 367,000 new jobs in the Scottish economy is a possible outcome, without such policies the number of new jobs might be as low as 156,000. It concludes that
… it is also possible for Scotland to decarbonise without significant domestic job creation – and that those jobs created could be primarily precarious and under-paid.
The report gives examples of the consequences of giving free rein to the private sector. For example, in offshore wind and solar
… employment in renewable energy …has been below standard. Jobs tend not to be unionised, and there have been reports of large multinational energy utilities like EDF trying to avoid unionisation of their (new) renewables divisions, despite union recognition across the rest of the company. The wind power Sector Deal created by the UK Government excludes any provision for trade unions. This adds to significant Health & Safety concerns with wind power, repeated violations, and recent deaths amongst onshore wind workers.
An investigation revealed that migrant workers hired to work on crane ships and guard vessels for offshore windfarm construction and offshore cable-laying sites were paid a fraction of the minimum wage and made to work more than 12 hours a day – both at the Beatrice site and others. Instead of ensuring acceptable labour standards, the UK government has now repeatedly extended a waiver work for permit requirements in the wind sector to facilitate the employment of foreign crews – raising concerns about poor safety and human rights conditions for migrant workers, as well as concerns about local jobs and training opportunities in the sector.
Throughout, the report assumes that climate projects will be undertaken by the private sector with public participation. The role for participation is to set policy goals, make investments and provide some level of regulation – legislation on fair work practices for example. One example that is given notes that there are serious skill shortages in some sectors and recommends a co-ordinated approach to skills provision for the climate transition through the creation of a new public body – Climate Skills Scotland. The new organisation’s role would be
to play a co-ordinating and pro-active role to work with existing providers (e.g. FE colleges) to quickly roll out the new qualifications required.
So essentially, public participation means supporting and facilitating the private sector. But given the track record of the private sector there must be grounds for questioning whether this level of participation is adequate. It’s clearly right to suggest, as the report does, that there is no certainty that the headline figure of almost 400,000 jobs will be achieved, or that jobs will be unionised and provide good pay and conditions. Even if both Holyrood and Westminster step up the pace and address investment in the projects outlined in the report, the private sector will still be driven by profit maximisation. That’s why renewable job numbers in Scotland have declined, why renewable projects source production on the other side of the world resulting in massive carbon footprints, and why wage rates and working conditions are driven to the bottom. Scot.E3 argues that public participation is not enough to ensure that we meet zero carbon targets or to ensure that the jobs that accrue from transition are good jobs. We need public ownership and democratic control.
Finally, the report touches upon three areas which, in our view, require urgent attention if Scotland’s roadmap for transition to zero carbon can have any credibility. The first of these is North Sea Oil and Gas. Most oil and gas production is not included in Scottish emissions figures or in targets for emissions reductions. The report notes that:
Scotland’s oil and gas output is equivalent to an additional 180.3 MtCO2e when used, more than four times greater than Scotland’s own greenhouse gas emissions [our emphasis].
These uncounted emissions represent a whole herd of elephants in the room and must be addressed as part of a planned, coordinated and just transition. This requires a sharp shift from the current policy, espoused by both Holyrood and Westminster, of maximum economic recovery of North Sea hydrocarbons. It also requires a break with the long-term partnership with big oil which has been cemented over 50 years by massive subsidies from the public purse and is now driving the policy focus on hydrogen production in order to sustain the industries dominant economic position.
The report is critical of a focus on hydrogen production from oil (blue hydrogen), arguing that it could delay progress with green hydrogen produced by electrolysing water. However, in line with its overall concentration on existing government policy it fails to look at the serious criticisms that have been made of zero carbon plans that foreground hydrogen.
Finally, the report notes how the private companies contracted to build energy from waste plants have tried to drive through serious cuts in pay and working conditions. However, it is uncritical of a strategy that requires a continual stream of waste for burning (and thus generating greenhouse gas emissions) for decades to come) and is incompatible with a zero-carbon transition and the Scottish Government’s aspirations for a circular economy.
There will be a protest on Tuesday 8th June at 12 noon in George Square against Glasgow City Council’s stealthy collusion with the Scottish Government in a last-ditch attempt to block the introduction of a new free bus service across Greater Glasgow – for details see this post.
Free, decarbonised, integrated, Covid-safe, publicly owned, worker-and-user-controlled public transport is the most immediately possible and effective way to address all elements of the current crisis – climate, Covid, poverty, exclusion, inequality.
The time and date of the protest have been timed to coincide with a critical Council meeting on its Climate Emergency Implementation Plan
Please turn up and spread the word. Wear masks and observe social distancing.
A court case launched today against the UK Government that exposes the billions it gives to the oil and gas industry. The case is supported by the Paid To Pollute campaign, a new initiative coordinated by Uplift and endorsed by a number of organisations including Greenpeace UK, Platform London, Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, UK Student Climate Network, Parents For Future, Fridays For Future Scotland, Extinction Rebellion, and Mothers Rise Up.
From it’s beginning more than 50 years ago oil and gas extraction from the North Sea has been heavily subsidised by the taxpayer. To find out more about the UK’s North Sea oil tax regime, which has handed super-profits to international oil companies while the taxpayer now foots the bill for decommissioning, you can read the featured report on our North Sea Oil and Gas page.
Public transport campaigners in Glasgow have led the way in showing how a transport system that meets people’s needs is an important part of the transition to a zero carbon economy. Mike Downham explains why Glasgow City Council’s response to the campaign is desperately inadequate.
There’s a stitch up going on between the SNP Scottish Government (led by Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport) and the SNP Glasgow City Council, along with the Glasgow City Region Cabinet of eight local authorities (SNP Councillor Susan Aitken leads the former and chairs the latter).
While the SNP have made the long overdue renationalisation of Scotrail one of the central themes of their current election campaign, they are actively inhibiting even tentative steps to reintroduce public control to the bus network.
According to Glasgow’s dominant bus operator First, it’s “practical changes on the ground for the people of Glasgow that are needed, not a stale and out of date regulatory debate.” Here at ATF we would tend to disagree – questions of ownership, power and accountability are crucial to the functioning of any part of society, whether that’s football clubs or local buses. Scotland’s private bus operators have had three decades to show they can deliver a good service, and it’s been a resounding failure. But while securing the power for local authorities to tackle this issue is all very well, if it isn’t resourced and worse still, actively undermined, then what’s the point?
The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 enabled and encouraged Local Authorities to explore three options – Bus Service Improvement Partnerships (BSIPS), Franchises, and Municipal Ownership. But in November last year the Scottish Government announced a £500 million Bus Partnership Fund, restricting the fund to the development by Local Transport Authorities of BSIPS. “The Bus Partnership Fund will complement the powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019, enabling local authorities to work in partnership with bus operators, to develop and deliver ambitious schemes that incorporate bus priority measures”. The Government hasn’t even given guidelines for the exploration of Franchises or Municipal Ownership. Now Glasgow City Council is talking up their progress with a BSIP, as if Franchises and Municipal Ownership aren’t options – despite having previously committed to exploring all three options.
This sleight of hand, under cover of the public focus on Covid-19, is not only dishonest and utterly undemocratic – it’s potentially disastrous for the millions of people across Greater Glasgow who depend on bus transport and for whom the current system is both unfit for purpose and unaffordable. It amounts to another scandalous hand-out to the private bus companies.
Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, spoke in March this year at the Get Glasgow Moving AGM, as a follow-up to his visit to Glasgow in 2018 to collect evidence for his report. He said three things about public transport: first that an efficient and free public transport system in Glasgow would be the most immediate and most realistic way to address Glasgow’s huge poverty and human rights issues; second that there were many examples internationally where this had been achieved through public, democratic control or ownership; and third that there were absolutely no examples internationally where a privately owned public transport system had met needs and rights.
Meanwhile Greater Manchester made history in March “by becoming the first UK city-region to commit to re-regulating its buses since Margaret Thatcher de-regulated them in 1986”, see this report on the Get Glasgow Moving website.
A report released today, written by Transition Economics for the STUC shows how the transition to a low or Zero carbon economy could create a large number of new jobs. The report’s findings underline the need for planning, public investment and public control and consequences if these steps are not taken.
New STUC report shows the potential for up to 367,000 green jobs in Scotland. However poor policy choices could see less than 131,000 jobs being created.
Written by Transition Economics, “Green Jobs In Scotland” looks at how energy, buildings, transport, manufacturing, waste, agriculture and land-use need to be decarbonised, and sets out how Scotland can maximise green job creation, as well as fair work and effective worker voice in these jobs. It finds:
Energy: The transition to zero-carbon energy could see 30,000 – 95,000 jobs created over 15+years. However, this will require a national energy generation company, local content rules, and upgrades to ports and manufacturing sites. Without policies like this we could see less than 16,000.
Buildings: Decarbonising buildings & broadband could see 61,000 – 136,000 jobs created over 10+years, plus a further 22,000 – 37,000 jobs over 3 years in building new social housing. This area holds the greatest potential for job creation but requires billions of investment – including in a street-by-street retrofitting programme run directly by Local Authorities.
Transport: Upgrading and expanding transport could see 26,000 – 60,000 jobs over 10+ years with a further 11,000-13,000 ongoing jobs in operations. However, this will require significant investment in municipally run electric buses, railways, shipping, cycle and walking infrastructure etc.
Manufacturing and Industry: Heavy industry is particularly hard to decarbonise but 5,000 – 9,000 jobs could be created in steel, CCS and re-manufacturing, while existing employment numbers in chemicals and refining could be protected. However, even achieving this will require investment in plant conversions and an industrial strategy to promote domestic manufacturing.
Waste: The circular economy and waste management could provide 17,000 – 23,500 jobs. But this needs policies to boost recycling capacity, improve waste collection, scale up the deposit and return scheme, develop tool libraries, expand reverse logistics services, and expand remanufacturing.
Land-Use and Agriculture: Greening land-use and agriculture could create 17,000 – 43,000 jobs over 12+ years. But this requires significant investment in reforestation and rewilding, alongside support for local organic farming and stronger enforcement of labour standards in Scottish agriculture.
The recommendations in the report span UK, Scottish and Local Government, with the scale of public investment required to meet climate targets and potential job levels exceeding what the Scottish Government alone can access under the current financial settlement. However, calls for a more active industrial strategy, far greater levels of public ownership and significant public investment noting that employment in Scotland’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy decreased in 2019.