Holyrood 350 — H35O

4 Action Points For Holyrood To Avert Climate Chaos

Sketching a Resilience Strategy for Scotland

Sketch­ing a Local/ Regional/ Nation­al Strat­e­gy on Cli­mate Change

How might the Cli­mate Chal­lenge Fund/ Local Author­i­ties / Gov­ern­ment bet­ter enable Com­mu­ni­ties to tack­le Cli­mate Change through Rebuild­ing Resilience?

Intro­duc­tion

This brief paper pro­pos­es refram­ing the CCF as the Com­mu­ni­ty Resilience Fund to enable com­mu­ni­ties to devel­op resilience, and it pro­pos­es reshap­ing Local Author­i­ties roles and nation­al pol­i­cy to sup­port this.

The paper sug­gests steps to fur­ther enable com­mu­ni­ties to become resilient, and that to sup­port this Local Author­i­ties may need to reclaim pow­ers from Holy­rood (such as the pow­er to reg­u­late region­al trans­port, pro­duce ener­gy, and ensure equi­table own­er­ship sys­tems). The paper then sketch­es a decar­bon­i­sa­tion strat­e­gy for Scot­land that can help to enable this rebuild­ing of local and region­al resilience, a strat­e­gy which the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment may need to reclaim pow­ers to pur­sue.

1. CUTTING CARBON AND ECONOMIC GROWTH = CONFLICTING AGENDAS

Accord­ing to the UK Gov­ern­ment, the UK has cut its emis­sions by 198 Mt CO2 e (mega­tons of green­house gas­es) since 1990. How­ev­er the Carnegie Insti­tu­tion for Sci­ence esti­mates that we have out­sourced 253 Mt CO2 e. The appar­ent suc­cess of the UK’s car­bon-cut­ting pro­gramme has result­ed from the col­lapse of our man­u­fac­tur­ing base and its re-estab­lish­ment over­seas. Under the cur­rent con­tra­dic­to­ry agen­das of eco­nom­ic growth and car­bon cut­ting, we export over­seas not only our car­bon pro­duc­tion, but also our jobs. It’s an envi­ron­men­tal and social lose/ lose approach.

Could the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment devel­op a decar­bon­is­ing frame­work, and Local Author­i­ties devel­op a resilient com­mu­ni­ties strat­e­gy, to chal­lenge the cul­ture of depen­den­cy where both rich and poor are depen­dent on a sys­tem of eco­nom­ic growth dri­ving eco­log­i­cal destruc­tion? In a con­text where coun­cils’ abil­i­ty to deliv­er ser­vices will soon be dras­ti­cal­ly cut, can we devel­op an alter­na­tive strat­e­gy to devel­op com­mu­ni­ty, region­al and nation­al scale economies cen­tred not on growth but on sus­tain­abil­i­ty?

2. MAPPING A PATHWAY TO COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL RESILIENCE:

The strat­e­gy sketched here is based on recog­nis­ing the need to restore com­mu­ni­ty resilience, and the need to enable Local Author­i­ties to devel­op resilience.

A. Redefin­ing the Cli­mate Chal­lenge Fund as The Com­mu­ni­ty Resilience Fund to:

1. Mate­ri­al­ly rebuild com­mu­ni­ty. Cur­rent­ly CCF fund­ed groups activ­i­ties are not allowed to inter­fere in the mar­ket and so they can’t devel­op eco­nom­i­cal­ly and envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ty enter­pris­es. What are need­ed are inter­ven­tions to re-ori­en­tate the mar­ket so that it serves com­mu­ni­ty needs in a sus­tain­able way. The CCF should direct it’s sup­port to the devel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ty owned trad­ing, pro­duc­tion, tur­bines, hydro, busi­ness­es mak­ing things com­mu­ni­ties need, mar­kets, orchards, land for grow­ing, CSA schemes, recy­cling and reusing ‘waste’ schemes, etc.

[It should be not­ed that the CCF has not been alone in not fund­ing groups activ­i­ties that inter­fere in the mar­ket. Almost all respons­es to cli­mate change restrict them­selves from inter­fer­ing in the vey area that most needs address­ing: the mar­ket. The 10:10 cam­paign, for exam­ple, asks all who sign up to it to reduce their emis­sions by 10% over 12 months; the only excep­tion being busi­ness­es, who are only asked to reduce their car­bon inten­si­ty by 10%. In oth­er words they can pro­duce more emis­sions as long as their prof­its or pro­duc­tiv­i­ty ris­es by more than 10% over that peri­od. A com­plete­ly sen­si­ble excep­tion if we accept the mar­ket as deter­min­ing the rules of the game, a huge flaw in the pro­gramme if we see those rules as cre­at­ing the prob­lem in the first place].

2. Com­mu­ni­ty Rolling Fund: Com­mu­ni­ty-to-Com­mu­ni­ty Region­al Fund­ing

Hav­ing pro­vid­ed seed corn fund­ing for the mate­r­i­al rebuild­ing described above, the CCF and Local Author­i­ties need to sup­port the devel­op­ment of com­mu­ni­ty-to-com­mu­ni­ty region­al fund­ing enabling a domi­no approach that ensures all com­mu­ni­ties devel­op this mate­r­i­al basis for resilience.

For exam­ple, in Fife, com­mu­ni­ties who are sup­port­ed to devel­op renew­ables could be required to put a pro­por­tion of funds gen­er­at­ed into a Fife-wide com­mu­ni­ty pot which is used to sup­port oth­er com­mu­ni­ties to cre­ate their renew­able projects, etc. This would mean that all parts of Fife could devel­op ener­gy suf­fi­cien­cy, not through gov­ern­ment or coun­cil fund­ing but through com­mu­ni­ty to com­mu­ni­ty sup­port.

3. Enable the CCF to become proac­tive.

With a lim­it­ed bud­get and huge ambi­tions, the CCF has nec­es­sar­i­ly had to be reac­tive, respond­ing to what it has con­sid­ered to be the best ideas and projects, often from already well-resourced com­mu­ni­ties.

While deep­en­ing the sup­port out­lined above for exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty ini­tia­tives to enable them to become sus­tain­able, the need now is to sup­port projects in more deprived com­mu­ni­ties (com­mu­ni­ties which may not have had the com­mu­ni­ty resources need­ed to make suc­cess­ful appli­ca­tions to the CCF). There is also a need to estab­lish finan­cial mech­a­nisms to ensure that ini­tia­tives do not have to pay for wages or ser­vices pri­or to being reim­bursed. Estab­lish­ing sup­port and exchange between com­mu­ni­ties needs to con­tin­ue – in order to build region­al­ly resilient com­mu­ni­ty net­works.

B. Redefin­ing the Local Authority’s Role: as being to enable com­mu­ni­ty resilience

With a poten­tial 8 to 20% cuts in fund­ing, Local Author­i­ties need to rede­fine their role from being ser­vice providers to rebuild­ing com­mu­ni­ties that can stand on their own two feet, and can help neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties to do like­wise. What infra­struc­ture can help this process, while reduc­ing Coun­cil costs? This might include:

Enabling com­mu­ni­ties to take own­er­ship of projects: Many per­ceive the Coun­cil as a Leviathan. Offi­cers need to have the abil­i­ty to both respond and help facil­i­tate com­mu­ni­ty projects, and know when to step back.

Beau­ti­ful Sus­tain­able Awards:

Find­ing ways of con­nect­ing (i) people’s pas­sion for improv­ing the appear­ance of their neigh­bour­hoods, with (ii) their abil­i­ty to con­tribute to address­ing the struc­tur­al prob­lems that are putting the future at risk.

Real­lo­cat­ing ser­vices:

Essen­tial ser­vices such as food, ener­gy and mate­r­i­al pro­duc­tion need to be ring fenced as com­mu­ni­ty con­trolled enter­pris­es, with the council’s role being to ensure broad­er com­mu­ni­ty to com­mu­ni­ty exchange and sup­port.

Plan­ning: Changes to plan­ning so that:

(a)  Com­mu­ni­ty owned and sus­tain­able build­ings and devel­op­ments get the green light ahead of exter­nal devel­op­ers (e.g. super­mar­kets are planned out of the process, local food mar­kets planned in),

(b)  Com­mu­ni­ty renew­ables, trans­port and food projects are sup­port­ed, and are con­sid­ered in rela­tion to each oth­er (e.g. areas being con­sid­ered as a whole), and con­sid­ered proac­tive­ly not just reac­tive­ly;

Large-scale renew­able ener­gy pro­duc­tion:

Expand­ing ener­gy parks and train­ing to ensure jobs in renew­ables go to local peo­ple and help rebuild the local econ­o­my and com­mu­ni­ties. Local peo­ple in very poor com­mu­ni­ties need the train­ing to take up these jobs.

Coun­cil Resilience:

Devel­op­ing off shore wind and tidal schemes (which would require a change in leg­is­la­tion), and broad­er changes to pro­cure­ment pol­i­cy, could ensure Council’s sus­tain­abil­i­ty and resilience.

Trans­port:

Ensure Coun­cils have the right to reg­u­late trans­port, ensure train and bus ser­vices and timeta­bles inter­sect, reduce fares and increase ser­vices.

Pro­cure­ment:

Ensure the Council’s pro­cure­ment poli­cies take into account the full car­bon, eco­log­i­cal and social costs of the prod­uct over its life­time.

Food:

(a)  Enable com­mu­ni­ties to use land: Facil­i­tate garden/land share; trans­fer unused land to com­mu­ni­ty food grow­ing ini­tia­tives.

(b)  Com­mu­ni­ty sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture: devel­op the finan­cial mech­a­nisms to enable com­mu­ni­ties to work with and sup­port local farm­ers to pro­duce healthy, cheap local pro­duce.

(c )  Healthy Afford­able food vs. Organ­ic local food: Take a joined up approach. For exam­ple, land near schools could be used by chil­dren to grow local organ­ic food, which they can learn to cook them­selves as part of pro­vid­ing for healthy school lunch­es, there­by ensur­ing they devel­op enthu­si­asm, own­er­ship, health and skills for life and work.

Financ­ing:

To devel­op small-scale com­mu­ni­ty-owned projects, Coun­cils could work with Cred­it Unions and banks such as Tri­o­dos to cre­ate invest­ment schemes includ­ing ‘Wind Bonds’ (to sup­port com­mu­ni­ty tur­bines) and ‘Land Bonds’ (for Com­mu­ni­ty Sup­port­ed Agri­cul­ture).

There may be a need to devel­op dif­fer­ent lev­els of cur­ren­cies: (i) local cur­ren­cies to strength­en local com­mu­ni­ty economies through loy­al­ty, aware­ness, and a shift in spend­ing; (ii) region­al cur­ren­cies to con­nect these, and to con­nect them to region­al ener­gy, ser­vices and pro­duc­ers; while retain­ing (iii) a nation­al cur­ren­cy to facil­i­tate broad­er exchanges.

C. Coun­cils and Com­mu­ni­ties: from eco­nom­ic growth to build­ing resilience

Although, in terms of car­bon reduc­tion, the focus is on chang­ing peo­ples’ behav­iour, She­lagh Young points out that actu­al­ly: (i) We need the infra­struc­ture to enable us to behave dif­fer­ent­ly, and (ii) Most of us feel able to change when we feel hap­py.

She adds that research sug­gests that what peo­ple need to be hap­pi­er are neigh­bour­hoods: (i) That evoke warm mem­o­ries [belong­ing]; (ii) That look good, with shared pub­lic spaces, green spaces [cher­ish­ing]; and (iii) Where peo­ple keep an eye out for, talk with, and know each oth­er [relat­ing].

In oth­er words, ordi­nary peo­ple want the same as those in cli­mate active com­mu­ni­ty ini­tia­tives; they just don’t use the same lan­guage. The fun­da­men­tal need, then, is to restore a shared lan­guage that can iden­ti­fy that our com­mon good is best served by:

(i)             Rebuild­ing resilient com­mu­ni­ties on a sus­tain­able mate­r­i­al base, rather than requir­ing local and nation­al gov­ern­ment to be ser­vice providers unin­ten­tion­al­ly enforc­ing com­mu­ni­ties’ pas­siv­i­ty; by

(ii)            Local author­i­ties play­ing an active part in that process and by their rebuild­ing their own resilience rather than sim­ply rely­ing on cen­tral gov­ern­ment fund­ing; and by

(iii)           Nation­al gov­ern­ments doing like­wise through play­ing an active part in the process of sup­port­ing the emer­gence of resilient com­mu­ni­ties and relo­calised region­al economies, as well as through decar­bon­is­ing the mar­ket and the ener­gy sup­ply, and through end­ing our reliance on long sup­ply chains that bring ‘cheap’ prod­ucts whose social and eco­log­i­cal cost in terms of lost jobs here and raised emis­sions there are incal­cu­la­ble.

3. SKETCHING A DECARBONISATION STRATEGY FOR SCOTLAND

The glob­al con­sen­sus is that dan­ger­ous cli­mate change is approach­ing, and is pri­mar­i­ly dri­ven by the burn­ing of fos­sil fuels; how­ev­er, the Copen­hagen sum­mit failed to estab­lish mean­ing­ful mech­a­nisms for car­bon reduc­tion. In the Scot­tish con­text, the Government’s promise of “manda­to­ry car­bon reduc­tion tar­gets of 3 per cent per annum” in order to reach a 42% cut by 2020, was watered down in May 2010 to 0.5 per cent for the next cou­ple of years on the grounds that greater reduc­tions would be too hard to meet. (NB: the oppo­si­tion par­ties at Holy­rood have reject­ed have insist­ed the Gov­ern­ment comes up with plans for real reduc­tions).

The Cli­mate Change Bill pro­posed that Scot­land set “a 50% reduc­tion tar­get for 2030 and an 80% reduc­tion tar­get for 2050.” Holy­rood 350’s response was that: Scot­land needs to achieve a reduc­tion of 100% by 2030 and 10% by 2012[1] to show the cli­mate change lead­er­ship the world needs in order to start the race out of car­bon, and to place us in pole posi­tion to take advan­tage of that race.

How to Reduce Emis­sions to Zero by 2030[2]

The two key aspects of the strat­e­gy we are propos­ing are:

(i) Chang­ing the top-down sys­tem so that it enables com­mu­ni­ty resilience: Here we pro­pose three fun­da­men­tal changes: the mar­ket one being ‘Cap and Share’, the tech­ni­cal one being 100% renew­able ener­gy, and the polit­i­cal one being con­trol­ling and redi­rect­ing the finan­cial sec­tor. Of these the game-chang­er is the Cap and Share scheme (see below).

(ii) Com­mu­ni­ty Resilience Fund: Shift­ing the focus from the failed boom and bust eco­nom­ic growth mod­el to build­ing our well-being on enabling com­mu­ni­ties to devel­op their mate­r­i­al base and to sup­port their neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties to do like­wise (see above and below).

1. Pric­ing Car­bon into then Out of the Econ­o­my

We strong­ly encour­age the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to rapid­ly intro­duce a scheme to ensure that high-car­bon prod­ucts, modes of trans­port, ener­gy sources and ser­vices, are fast replaced by zero-car­bon ones. The nec­es­sary rapid rise in the cost of high-car­bon options would be accom­pa­nied by the rapid devel­op­ment and shift to zero-car­bon ones, there­by dra­mat­i­cal­ly reduc­ing and then stop­ping car­bon being extract­ed from the ground to pass through the econ­o­my into the atmos­phere.

Intro­duc­ing ‘Cap and Div­i­dend’ [or ‘Cap and Share’] to Scot­land:

In this sys­tem the vast major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion are imme­di­ate­ly bet­ter off and only those who can afford it (the heavy emit­ters) are penalised for dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly pol­lut­ing the glob­al com­mons. Intro­duc­ing this sys­tem to Scot­land would mean that those bring­ing car­bon into the econ­o­my (those very few com­pa­nies import­ing or pro­duc­ing coal/ oil/ gas/ cement etc) would take part in an annu­al auc­tion to buy the right to bring car­bon into the econ­o­my.

The extra price they have then paid is
(i) Passed on to man­u­fac­tur­ers and oth­er users of the fos­sil fuel they bring into the econ­o­my, which leads to high­er prices for all those using those prod­ucts, ser­vices, modes of trans­porta­tion etc which have car­bon embed­ded in them; but the cash gen­er­at­ed from the auc­tion of these car­bon emis­sion per­mits is

(ii) Passed on to the pop­u­la­tion at large (direct­ly into their bank or post office accounts) so that peo­ple can deal with the increase in prices. This means that (a) those using more than their fair share of car­bon are penalised because all such prices will have risen, while those using less (the great major­i­ty) will ben­e­fit with extra cash, and (b) pro­duc­ers will be encour­aged to rapid­ly devel­op non-car­bon based products/ services/ modes of trans­port, and avoid pro­duc­ing car­bon ones.

Advan­tages: Polit­i­cal and Prac­ti­cal Advan­tages of ‘Cap and Div­i­dend’:

A vote win­ner in that

(i)             It imme­di­ate­ly puts mon­ey in peo­ples’ pock­ets and leaves them to choose the low­er and zero-car­bon options if they wish.

(ii)            It ensures that all the mon­ey from the auc­tion (and sub­se­quent­ly from heavy emit­ters) is passed on direct­ly to the vast major­i­ty of fam­i­lies and indi­vid­u­als; and, since none of he mon­ey will be kept by Gov­ern­ment, there is no way this could be mis­con­strued as a way of rais­ing Gov­ern­ment rev­enue.[3]

Mar­ket solu­tion – it doesn’t cre­ate a dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal or eco­nom­ic game, it sim­ply changes the rules of the game so that the mar­ket has to inter­nalise the car­bon cost [although, it can be a bridge towards a dif­fer­ent frame­work].

Tech­no­log­i­cal­ly inno­v­a­tive – the cer­tain­ty of the cap (the per­mit­ted lev­el of car­bon in the econ­o­my) being reduced rapid­ly year on year, would imme­di­ate­ly boost jobs and invest­ment in the devel­op­ment of zero-car­bon ener­gy, goods and ser­vices.

Cre­ates a lev­el play­ing field: Togeth­er with the Gov­ern­ment (i) reduc­ing ener­gy demand and ensur­ing 100% renew­able ener­gy, and (ii) re-reg­u­lat­ing and re-direct­ing finance, this pol­i­cy will cre­ate a lev­el play­ing field in which food and ener­gy, goods and ser­vices, will be pro­duced clos­er to home, help­ing build social­ly and eco­log­i­cal­ly healthy com­mu­ni­ties (see 4 below).

Chal­lenges: Polit­i­cal and Prac­ti­cal Chal­lenges of ‘Cap and Div­i­dend’

UK con­text: UK law would not allow Scot­land to uni­lat­er­al­ly imple­ment such a sys­tem, but if peo­ple in Scot­land pow­er­ful­ly push to do so, this would put huge pres­sure on the UK Gov­ern­ment to fol­low suit or to accept Scot­tish auton­o­my in this and relat­ed areas.

EU and WTO con­text: The EU and WTO could argue against us impos­ing strin­gent tar­iffs on car­bon embed­ded imports from coun­tries that do not have a sim­i­lar scheme. How­ev­er, such a tar­iff would be nec­es­sary to cre­ate a lev­el play­ing field by lev­el­ling up inter­na­tion­al prac­tice.

Impact of our re-local­i­sa­tion on the Glob­al South: Cheap prod­ucts from the Glob­al South would be priced out of our mar­ket through the require­ment that they inter­nalise their car­bon costs or, if not, have tar­iffs imposed on entry. How­ev­er: (i) inter­na­tion­al trade tends to main­tain unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic elites in pow­er who impov­er­ish peo­ple through tak­ing their land and/or pay­ing lit­tle for their labour. Remov­ing this source of elite’s wealth, dimin­ish­es their pow­er, help­ing democ­ra­cy; and (ii) since these cheap prod­ucts exter­nalise social costs, Fair­trade schemes could be used to address the social issues direct­ly.

2. Switch­ing From Car­bon Hun­gry To Ener­gy Healthy Infra­struc­ture

We strong­ly encour­age the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to enable a rapid switch from car­bon hun­gry to ener­gy healthy infra­struc­ture. This would involve an imme­di­ate end to the con­struc­tion of infra­struc­ture which is accel­er­at­ing our car­bon use and accel­er­at­ing cli­mate change, includ­ing the imme­di­ate end of motor­way build­ing, air­port expan­sion, and out of town shop­ping cen­tres. A rapid trans­for­ma­tion in ener­gy pro­duc­tion, con­struc­tion and in trans­port infra­struc­ture, includ­ing rolling out effec­tive mass insu­la­tion and ener­gy con­ser­va­tion schemes, pub­lic and com­mu­ni­ty ben­e­fit renew­able ener­gy schemes, and expo­nen­tial­ly expand­ing and elec­tri­fy­ing (and reduc­ing the fares to low or zero lev­els on) pub­lic trans­port.

To move to being an ener­gy healthy soci­ety by 2030 we need to rapid­ly:

(i)             ‘Pow­er Down’ from using car­bon based and pol­lut­ing ener­gy sources and from being ener­gy obese, there­by reduc­ing ener­gy use by 50% by 2030; and

(ii)            ‘Pow­er Up’ by rapid­ly expand­ing renew­ables (includ­ing tidal, wind, CHP and hydro) to pro­vide for all our remain­ing ener­gy needs by 2030.

This tran­si­tion will hap­pen any­way as oil, gas and coal run out, but needs to be done now to stop car­bon from remain­ing fos­sil fuels being released into the atmos­phere.

How the ener­gy trans­for­ma­tion can tech­ni­cal­ly be car­ried out by 2030 is out­lined in the Cen­tre for Alter­na­tive Technology’s wide­ly acclaimed Zero Car­bon Report. It is also clear from this, that it would be entire­ly mis­guid­ed to pour ener­gy and resources into the expec­ta­tion that we could devel­op boun­ti­ful, cheap and safe nuclear ener­gy, and con­tin­ue to use coal (through seek­ing to devel­op car­bon cap­ture and stor­age). The Zero Car­bon Report makes clear that renew­able solu­tions are avail­able and can meet our real needs (rather than our man­u­fac­tured wants) now if we choose to pour our ener­gy into devel­op­ing them (see: www.zerocarbonbritain.com).

Cre­at­ing a bal­anced renew­able infra­struc­ture will require com­mu­ni­ty owned projects, local author­i­ty projects, and nation­al projects. How­ev­er, in the tran­si­tion to a zero car­bon soci­ety there may well be a strong case for explor­ing the poten­tial for Geot­her­mal ener­gy to pro­vide the heat­ing need­ed (e.g. through har­ness­ing the heat in the water in dis­used mines under the cen­tral belt), and there will be a cru­cial role for large-scale off­shore nation­al renew­able sys­tems such as those pro­posed by the Off­shore Val­u­a­tion Group which “found that har­ness­ing 29 per cent of the UK’s prac­ti­cal wind, wave and tidal resources would match the elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­at­ed by North Sea oil and gas pro­duc­tion” (May 20th 2010).

3. Estab­lish­ing a Rad­i­cal Green New Deal

We strong­ly encour­age the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to recog­nise the under­ly­ing cause of the ‘triple crunch’: cred­it-fuelled finan­cial cri­sis, accel­er­at­ing cli­mate change and fluc­tu­at­ing but (over the long term) soar­ing ener­gy prices asso­ci­at­ed with Peak Oil.

We strong­ly encour­age the Gov­ern­ment to devel­op a pol­i­cy frame­work and pro­gramme to re-reg­u­late the finan­cial sec­tor; and begin the process of either:

(i)             Per­suad­ing the West­min­ster Gov­ern­ment to imple­ment such leg­is­la­tion or, if the West­min­ster Gov­ern­ment refus­es, then

(ii)            Cre­at­ing this as ‘Shad­ow leg­is­la­tion’ and con­sult­ing the peo­ple of Scot­land on whether they sup­port the Scot­tish Government’s lead­er­ship in tack­ling these three con­nect­ed crises.

Where even a few years ago, it would have been seen as elec­toral sui­cide to advo­cate re-reg­u­lat­ing the finan­cial sec­tor; there is now a huge pop­u­lar appetite (amongst both expert ana­lysts and the pop­u­la­tion at large) for such a move. The rules of the eco­nom­ic sys­tem have legal­ly oblig­ed com­pa­nies to pur­sue the high­est returns for share­hold­ers with­out thought to how this can destroy the social, eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal fab­ric. The quick­est (even if least long-term) approach to increas­ing prof­it has been through exter­nal­is­ing the social and eco­log­i­cal costs of pro­duc­ing goods and ser­vices (hence the out­sourc­ing or pro­duc­tion and ser­vice jobs to the Major­i­ty world).

As a first step, we call on the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to:

(i)             Push for trans­paren­cy in transna­tion­al financiers and cor­po­ra­tions deal­ings so that they become account­able for the impacts they are hav­ing, and so that we ensure they are account­able through pay­ing tax.

(ii)            Push inter­na­tion­al­ly for tax havens and their secre­tive deal­ings to be stopped, and in the mean­time push for leg­is­la­tion to make any agree­ments reached in such juris­dic­tions lack any legal sta­tus here.

Over the longer term, we call on the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to:

- Build a new alliance between politi­cians, envi­ron­men­tal­ists, indus­try, agri­cul­ture, and the unions. One which puts the inter­ests of the real econ­o­my ahead of those of foot­loose finance in order to make mas­sive invest­ment in renew­able ener­gy and wider envi­ron­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion, (The Green New Deal at www.neweconomics.org)

- Re-ori­en­tate the mon­ey sys­tem so that it exists to pro­tect mon­ey as a shared com­mons which we all need to facil­i­tate exchange, and as such exists to serve the well-being of soci­ety, rather than to increase the prof­its of the few at the expense of soci­ety and the envi­ron­ment (Dav­ey 2008).

A sus­tain­able eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy should include: (from Andy Ross of H350)

(i) A new met­ric for well being for peo­ple and plan­et (to replace GNP), and a citizen’s income to meet basic needs.

(ii) Reg­u­la­tion and/or tax­es on ‘bads’ (e.g. resource deple­tion, waste, pol­lu­tion, extreme inequal­i­ty, over­work, over­con­sump­tion, depen­den­cy, etc) and cit­i­zens should be charged for resource use (e.g. Cap and Share)

(iii) Incen­tives for goods (e.g. con­ser­va­tion, efficiency/durability/quality, eco-friend­li­ness, equal­i­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty, life-work bal­ance, suf­fi­cien­cy, auton­o­my, etc)

4. Sup­port­ing Com­mu­ni­ty Re-Local­i­sa­tion

We strong­ly encour­age the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to con­tin­ue and dra­mat­i­cal­ly increase its excel­lent sup­port for com­mu­ni­ties seek­ing to make the tran­si­tion from an oil depen­dent econ­o­my to a local one. This move­ment is evi­dent in the wave of Tran­si­tion Town, Going Car­bon Neu­tral, etc., ini­tia­tives (see www.pedal-porty.org.uk, www.fifediet.co.uk, etc).

The Land Reform (Scot­land) Act should be expand­ed to extend sup­port to urban com­mu­ni­ties to also have the first right (and sup­port) to buy impor­tant com­mu­ni­ty land and build­ings when they come on the mar­ket. This must not be at the expense of exist­ing sup­port for rur­al com­mu­ni­ties to do like­wise, but can enable urban com­mu­ni­ties to rebuild them­selves, part­ly through learn­ing from the expe­ri­ence of rur­al com­mu­ni­ty ini­tia­tives (see www.isleofeigg.org, www.caledonia.org.uk).

As the pre­vi­ous three actions are tak­en to stop the extrac­tion of car­bon, a lev­el play­ing field will emerge in which food, ener­gy and the things we need and want are pro­duced far clos­er to home. The three pre­vi­ous steps cre­ate the grounds for this fourth step which ulti­mate­ly depends on peo­ple being will­ing to rebuild their com­mu­ni­ties as sus­tain­able, healthy, resilient and desir­able places to be through relo­cal­is­ing their econ­o­my. Here deci­sions need to be man­aged through nego­ti­a­tion and co-oper­a­tion rather than through the impo­si­tion of devel­op­ments by those who are absent from a local­i­ty, and there­fore nev­er have to deal with the con­se­quences.

CONCLUSION: WHY IS THIS RESILIENCE FRAMEWORK NEEDED NOW?

Accord­ing to the Stock­holm Insti­tute, with­out a com­plete­ly new approach even the most rad­i­cal of their three alter­na­tive visions of the future led to well over 2°C ris­es. When they ran the three alter­na­tive sce­nar­ios through the Met Office’s Hadley Centre’s mod­el­ling sys­tem[4], the ris­es were as fol­lows:

(i)             With Agree and Ignore – the cur­rent approach in which inter­na­tion­al nego­ti­a­tions (at best) lead to weak tar­get set­ting which coun­tries then effec­tive­ly ignore – led to ris­es of 4.85°C;

(ii)            Kyoto Plus – the suc­cess­ful bind­ing inter­na­tion­al nego­ti­a­tions Copen­hagen failed to deliv­er – led to ris­es of 3.31°C; and

(iii)           A rad­i­cal Step Change mar­ket approach to severe­ly restrict com­pa­nies using fos­sil fuels in the first place – still led to ris­es of 2.89°C.

So, with­out a dra­mat­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent path­way – such as this relo­cal­i­sa­tion process enabled by Local Author­i­ty action and a Nation­al pol­i­cy frame­work — we can­not stop the dev­as­tat­ing extrac­tion of car­bon, nor demon­strate to the world how to get back below 350ppm and so stay below the dan­ger thresh­old of 2°C.

In sum­ma­ry: we are not going to be able to pull back from the brink and – in the process — devel­op localised economies and ful­fill­ing zero-car­bon lifestyles unless:

(i)             There is leg­is­la­tion to ensure a lev­el play­ing field for all, so that indi­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and pub­lic bod­ies can act to reduce emis­sions

(ii)            There is a clear pro­gramme to change ener­gy use, infra­struc­ture, and the mate­ri­als we use, from car­bon-based to car­bon-neu­tral

(iii)           There is swift leg­is­la­tion to curb the abil­i­ty of finance and the prof­it motive to exploit and dam­age, rather than serve soci­ety, and unless

(iv)          There is vast­ly increased sup­port for com­mu­ni­ties to make the tran­si­tion.

Can the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment respond to the cri­sis the sci­ence is telling us we are in by mak­ing our tar­get an emis­sions reduc­tion of 100% by 2030, and 10% by the end of 2012, and by tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to begin that dra­mat­ic reduc­tion now?

Can Local Author­i­ties take the ini­tia­tive, shift from an eco­nom­ic growth to a sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties agen­da, enabling com­mu­ni­ties to increase their well being even while fund­ing for Local Author­i­ty ser­vice pro­vi­sion is being cut?

Can peo­ple act on the recog­ni­tion that – in respond­ing to the chal­lenges of cli­mate change, resource deple­tion, eco­log­i­cal degra­da­tion and eco­nom­ic cri­sis — rebuild­ing their com­mu­ni­ties and attend­ing to the local is the best response to the glob­al?


[1] This sec­tion updates Holy­rood 350’s 2009 response to the Scot­tish Parliament’s draft Bill. The per­cent­ages now refer to a 2010 base­line of 50 mil­lion tonnes of green­house gas­es.

[2] Here we focus on the 4 strate­gic ways of reduc­ing emis­sions, but there are a whole host of piece­meal moves which can have a mas­sive cumu­la­tive effect. For exam­ples of pos­si­ble piece­meal changes (as well as strate­gic approach­es) see George Monbiot’s ‘Here’s the plan’ (http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/10/31/heres-the-plan/) or Cli­mate Safety’s ‘A few sug­ges­tions’ on page 23 of their Cli­mate Safe­ty Report (http://climatesafety.org/wp-content/uploads/climatesafety.pdf). Ideas range from: elec­tric­i­ty tar­iffs where ener­gy becomes cheap­er the less you use, end­ing domes­tic flights, a 55mph speed lim­it, using the £76 mil­lion ear­marked for replac­ing Tri­dent to build wind tur­bines and car­ry out a nation­al insu­la­tion pro­gramme, get rid of pri­vate couri­er vans and return post to Roy­al Mail post­men walk­ing.

[3] In order to raise rev­enue for (i) urgent car­bon reduc­tion pub­lic schemes of work, and (ii) help­ing the poor here and in the Glob­al South deal with cli­mate change, the Gov­ern­ment could make agree­ments reached in tax havens car­ry no weight in our courts. The unpaid tax recov­ered from tax havens could eas­i­ly finance such mas­sive projects (The Green New Deal)

[4] http://www.stockholm-network.org/downloads/publications/Carbon_Scenarios___Executive_Summary.pdf

No Comments

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet… Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.