SCOTLAND will benefit from an extra 60,000 jobs as a result of a green revolution that will sweep the country over the next ten years, according to a major new report.
• Picture: Getty
An average of 500 jobs will be created every month until 2020 in sectors ranging from offshore wind power to carbon capture technology.
The study highlights for the first time how Scotland can capitalise on its natural advantages to make the most of the potential economic benefits of green business.
Unveiling the report – produced with the support of several public agencies – finance secretary John Swinney said the opportunities were "vast".
He went on: "Scotland's future lies in low-carbon technologies and greener business."
Environment campaigners welcomed the report but said far more progress was needed by the Scottish Government before the country's full potential could be realised.
The report, "Towards a Low-Carbon Economy for Scotland", says 26,000 jobs will be created from the renewables sector alone by 2020 – including 20,000 from offshore wind and 2,600 from wave and tidal power.
Another 26,000 jobs will come from emerging technologies, including 10,000 from carbon capture and storage technology, said to have the potential to clean up coal-fired power stations.
A further 8,000 jobs will be provided by environmental management opportunities, such as consultancy work or pollution control.
The 73-page document involved the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Transport Scotland, VisitScotland and other bodies.
It says there are already an estimated 70,000 jobs in the low carbon sector – it accounts for 3 per cent of employment in Scotland – meaning 130,000 people could be employed in green jobs by 2020.
It goes on to say that, within five years, the low-carbon goods and services sector will be worth about 12 billion to the Scottish economy.
Mr Swinney said: "Moving Scotland's industries to low-carbon products and services is an economic and environmental imperative and is already happening – witness the billions of pounds being invested in green energy.
"Yet there is so much more potential across domestic and rapidly expanding global markets, such as green energy, sustainable transport, energy efficiency, waste, recycling and pollution.
"All the estimates show that the jobs potential, demand for new skills and supply chain benefits could be vast."
The paper suggests few sectors will be unaffected by the "green revolution".
• The financial services sector will develop insurance products to mitigate climate risks and invest in renewable energy projects.
• Universities will carry out research into low-carbon opportunities and then capitalise on their findings.
• The food and drinks industry will explore innovative solutions to packaging problems and to fulfilling the demand for locally grown produce.
• The construction industry will develop low-carbon building technologies and carry out work to improve the energy efficiency of homes.
• Forest industries will be involved in providing the materials for biomass heating plants.
The report comes in the wake of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, which last year committed the country to ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reductions on 1990 levels of 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, welcomed the report but said it did not go far enough.
"For instance, we know we will have to do not just better but ten times better on insulating people's homes if we are to meet climate targets."
Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the paper was a "big step forward for Scotland". "We have long argued that greater investment and support for the environment could be good for jobs too," he said.
But he added more had to be done to cut the use of fossil fuels.