Scottish Government must invest in green jobs and industries, says Patrick Harvie

Patrick Harvie has called on the Scottish Government to develop a Green New Deal policy for Scotland.

The Scottish Government must do more to support green jobs and industries, an MSP said ahead of a Holyrood debate this week. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

The Scottish Green party co-convener will bring forward a debate at Holyrood this week urging MSPs to back an agenda which addresses climate change and invests in green jobs and industries.

Climate protesters this week took action in cities across the UK calling on government and councils to declare a climate emergency.

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Protesters held a series of peaceful demonstrations, including occupying key sites such as Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge in London.

Last month, a motion by the Scottish Greens calling for the Scottish Parliament to declare a climate emergency was defeated.

In the United States, a Green New Deal plan was put forward by Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Mr Harvie indicated that there is growing interest in Scotland and across the world in bringing forward a Green New Deal.

Mr Harvie said: “Last month the Greens brought forward a vote calling on the Scottish Parliament to declare a climate emergency.

“This proposition was voted down by SNP, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs. The other parties cannot conceive of a positive vision for Scotland’s future after we leave the fossil fuel age behind.

“But, we quite simply cannot afford to continue with our over-reliance on oil and gas.

“Climate science tells us there is just over a decade to act if we are to prevent climate breakdown, while the inspirational school climate strikers demand that we act urgently to secure their future.

“A Green New Deal for Scotland is a practical way to transform Scotland’s economy, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in clean, green industries and tackle the huge inequality that still exists within our communities.

“So far, ministers have been reluctant to take the bold and urgent action that is required to tackle the climate crisis. I hope they’ll take the chance this week to back our plans and set in motion the process of creating a Green New Deal for Scotland.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “In 2017, the Scottish low-carbon and renewable energy sector supported over 46,000 jobs, and generated over £11 billion in turnover. This is a significant result and confirms our commitment to ensuring that Scotland maximises economic opportunity of the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“We recognise that the transition to a carbon-neutral economy brings both economic opportunities and challenges.

“We have established a Just Transition Commission to provide ministers with practical advice on promoting a fair, inclusive jobs market as we move to a carbon-neutral economy. We want constructive dialogue to be the central pillar of our approach to Just Transition.

“In addition, the Scottish National Investment Bank will support the transition to a carbon-neutral society.

“This transition will provide opportunities across Scotland. Developments have already been made in areas like battery storage and smart grids and Scotland is home to technological breakthroughs, like floating offshore windfarms and tidal power developments.”