Just transition commission members announced as top climate scientist says “It’s time for Scotland to deliver”

Colette Cohen, CEO of the Net Zero Technology Centre

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The membership of Scotland’s Just Transition Commission has been announced. 

THE independent Commission has a key role in helping Scotland achieve a carbon neutral economy. It aims to make sure the benefits and burdens caused by these changes are shared as fairly as possible.

12 Parliamentary-term Commissioners drawn from industry, business and finance, trade unions, environmental and community groups, and academia will serve until the next Scottish Parliamentary election. 

Four further Commissioners have been appointed on a fixed-term basis to provide expert advice on the Scottish Government’s Transition Plan for the energy sector, the first in a series of just transition plans that will cover different areas of Scotland’s economy.

The Commission will again be chaired by Prof. Jim Skea CBE, a climate scientist and a member of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body whose reports have played a key role in shaping global understanding of the climate emergency.

The Just Transition Commission will have its first meeting early in 2022. Its remit is to:

  • Scrutinise the development of just transition plans led by the Scottish Government
  • Advise on the best approach to monitoring and evaluation of the just transition
  • Engage with people most likely to be impacted by the transition, hearing from a wide range of representative voices.

The Commission will publish an annual report scrutinising Scotland’s progress..

This is the second Just Transition Commission to be appointed, following the first JTC that began its work in 2019 and reported in March 2021. All 27 of its recommendations were accepted by the Scottish Government, including that the just transition be made a “national mission”.

JTC Chair Jim Skea said: “Over the next four years, the Just Transition Commission will draw on a deep well of experience and expertise from across industry, business and finance, trade unions, environmental and community groups, and academia. I’m grateful to each of our new Commissioners for agreeing to take on the task that lies before us all: a transition to net zero that is truly just and makes our country resilient for the challenges ahead. We in Scotland have talked the talk on the need for a just transition. Now it’s time to deliver. Obviously that must mean tough choices, hard work, and careful planning based on the best evidence.”

The 13 Commissioners appointed for the parliamentary term are:

  • (Chair) Professor Jim Skea CBE, IPCC Bureau member and previous JTC Chair 
  • Lang Banks – Director, WWF Scotland and previous JTC Commissioner
  • Ameena Camps – Director of Community Energy Scotland
  • Colette Cohen – CEO of Net Zero Technology Centre (formerly Oil and Gas Technology Centre) and previous Commissioner
  • Elaine Dougall – Regional Co-ordinating Officer of Unite, STUC General Council and Women’s Committee
  • Katie Gallogly-Swan – Policy Coordinator for the joint project on a Global Green New Deal between UNCTAD and the Global Development Policy Centre at Boston University
  • Richard Hardy – National Secretary, Prospect Union, and previous JTC Commissioner
  • Rajiv Joshi – Founder, Bridging Ventures
  • Ann Pettifor – Economist, Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME)
  • Mark Reed – Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship and Co-Director of the Thriving Natural Capital Challenge Centre at SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College)
  • Satwat Rehman – Chief Executive of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS)
  • Nick Robins – Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance, Grantham Institute, LSE and Co-founder of the Financing the Just Transition Alliance  
  • Hannah Smith – Director, Institution of Civil Engineers, Scotland

The four Commissioners appointed for the Transition Plan for the energy sector are:

  • Rachel McEwen – Chief Sustainability Officer, SSE (and previous Just Transition Commissioner)
  • Jake Molloy – RMT regional officer (Aberdeen); Chair: Offshore Co-ordinating Group / Member: O&G & Energy Transition SLG; Former offshore worker.
  • Ronnie Quinn – CEO of NECCUS alliance
  • Ray Riddoch, Director of Harlow Energy and a career spanning 40 years both in the UK and overseas in the oil and gas industry.

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said“We are in the middle of a climate and nature emergency, and following the outcome of COP26 in Glasgow, it’s clearer than ever that we all must do more to help secure a future that is safer for people and the planet. On the journey to a zero carbon future it’s important that we never lose sight of the need to make sure that the transition is fair for workers, communities, and the consumer. In my role on the Just Transition Commission I hope to ensure that Scotland seizes the many positive opportunities, to create jobs and deliver social benefits, that will also arise as we continue to cut carbon and restore nature.”

Ameena Camps, Director of Community Energy Scotland, said: “As actions are taken to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises, there is an opportunity to ensure the changes required provide benefits to and empower the most vulnerable in society, creating a more equal society for all.  A just transition is key to a sustainable future and I look forward to working with the Commission.”

Colette Cohen, CEO of the Net Zero Technology Centre, said: “The concept of a just transition recognises that while the move to net-zero is vital, it must not be inequitable. Scotland has a strong indigenous energy heritage, huge renewables potential as well as extensive design and manufacturing capability. It’s imperative we support industries and communities to deliver a just transition through investment in skills and innovation. I’m delighted to join Scotland’s second Just Transition Commission as a Commissioner and look forward to progressing the ambition to create benefits and opportunities for people across Scotland.”

Elaine Dougall, Regional Co-ordinating Officer at Unite the Union, said “ I am looking forward to being part of the Just Transition Commission and particularly looking forward to engaging with the Unite members who work across the sectors to ensure job security and community sustainability is achieved.”

Katie Gallogly-Swan, Policy Coordinator at Boston University Global Development Policy Center and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said: “The stakes of the climate crisis do not need repeating. The recent COP26 Conference brought home how critical it is for governments everywhere to direct and enable ambitious climate policies at the local, national and global levels. But decarbonisation is not enough. A just transition must transform the moribund economic system that has deepened inequalities, whether between the rich and poor, different genders, different races and different regions of the world. Scotland has made vital steps in elevating this agenda, not least with the First Minister’s recent leadership on supporting Loss and Damage and recognising the need for a feminist transition, but with a 1.5C future barely within reach, it is our responsibility as an advanced economy with a disproportionate responsibility for carbon emissions to push harder and faster.”

Richard Hardy, National Secretary for Scotland and Ireland at Prospect, said: “I’m the first person in my family not to work in the Coal Industry for over 150 years, I was born in a pit village and live in Fife amongst the Industrial Archaeology of Scotland’s largest coalfield. I know what an unjust transition looks like and I want to do all I can to make sure our next transition, to net zero, is a just one.”

Rajiv Joshi, founder of Bridging Ventures, said: “As a Global Scot, I am honoured to serve on the Just Transition Commission. In this Decisive Decade it will take ambition, commitment and catalytic collaboration to drive a fair and fast transition to a new climate economy. We must leave no one behind. The Commission has a unique opportunity to lead the way while sharing learning with communities around the world.”

Ann Pettifor, economist, said: “The Scottish government has adopted a progressive, inter-nationalist approach to the need for a just transition away from society’s addiction to fossil fuels. That is why I am pleased to be appointed as a member of the Just Transition Commission.” 

Mark Reed, Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship and co-Director of the Thriving Natural Capital Challenge Centre at SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), said:  “The work of the Just Transition Commission is essential to ensure carbon markets benefit farmers and help us transition to more climate friendly farming, rather than just benefiting investors or displacing farming communities with forests.”

Satwat Rehman, CEO of One Parent Families Scotland, said: “Having worked for a number of years on tackling poverty for some of the most marginalised and stigmatised communities in our society, I am glad to have the opportunity to bring my experience to this commission. A just transition needs to have justice for all at its centre so we can create a fairer as well as a greener economy and labour market. I hope that the commission goes beyond its direct membership to hear from those who need this change the most and I hope to play a critical role in making that happen”

Nick Robins, Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance with the Grantham Research Institute at LSE, said: “Scotland’s Just Transition Commission has set the global standard in terms of analysis and advice on how to make the future fairer and greener for all. I’m delighted to join as a Commissioner for its second term and keen to get involved in its work, particularly around the design and delivery of Scotland’s just transition plans.”

Hannah Smith, Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland (ICE), said “Scotland’s infrastructure, and the people that deliver it, will be at the heart of securing net zero carbon. The changes that lie ahead present considerable opportunity, but that will only be fully realised if we ensure that our net zero transition is fair, inclusive, and leaves nobody behind. I look forward to working with fellow Commissioners and stakeholders to realise this ambition.” 

Rachel McEwen, Chief Sustainability Officer at SSE, said: “The industrial transformations of the past are not covered in glory in terms of their impact on working people and their communities. Let’s make the transformation to a net zero world different and do it in a way that’s fair to consumers, communities and working people.  We need all hands on deck to achieve fairness and an enduring Just Transition Commission provides the framework for a broad coalition of the willing.”  

Jake Molloy, RMT Regional Officer (Aberdeen) said: “I am looking forward to participating in the JTC and hope I can make a valuable contribution, especially around the aspects of fairness and inequality in the workplace and enabling a genuine ‘Just’ transition for workers and the wider society.”

Ronnie Quinn, Chief Executive of NECCUS, said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of identifying, acknowledging and addressing the issues that will allow Scotland to optimise its opportunities in achieving net zero. I hope to be able to use my experience in renewables and Carbon Capture and Storage to highlight what can be achieved and how the lessons of the past can be applied as we move forward.”

Ray Riddoch, Director at Harlaw Energy, said: “Scotland has the opportunity to be the world leader in the transition to Net Zero. I sincerely hope to contribute to that effort as a proud Scotsman!”

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