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?


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.


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?


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.


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


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


(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.


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.


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.


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

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