By DARA BUTTERFIELD
The Scottish Green party has published a major research paper outlining how Scotland could create 200,000 jobs over the next 20 years by pursuing a new economy built on renewable energy, ‘green’ chemistry, home insulation and forestry.
The report, “Jobs in Scotland’s New Economy”, uses government and industry assessments to calculate that significantly more people could be employed in sustainable industries than are currently employed in fossil fuel industries.
Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, said: “In recent months there have been mass layoffs in the oil and gas industry. The ongoing insecurity due to the volatile price and finite nature of this resource has devastating consequences for families and communities.
“The only credible and responsible course of action is a managed transition towards sustainable sectors as outlined in this major report.
“We can enhance skills, encourage innovation and increase supply chain opportunities for Scotland’s small and medium-sized businesses. We have the chance to become a world centre of expertise in oil and gas decommissioning, with imminent global demand for such knowledge.
“By showing in detail the opportunities we have for up-scaling renewables and forestry, and retrofitting housing and green chemistry, we hope to prompt a serious debate about how we build a jobs-rich, low-carbon economy. To make the most of these opportunities we need to reject austerity, prioritise investment and reconsider the billion pounds annual subsidy we give oil and gas multinationals.
Policy ideas in the report include:
- Creating a publicly-owned Scottish renewables company to encourage offshore wind, tidal and wave developments.
- Prioritising North Sea decommissioning work.
- Taking the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemicals plant into public ownership.
- Converting Grangemouth to make and use synthetic gas to enable a long-term future.
- Launching a national insulation retrofit programme.
- Launching a large-scale re-forestation programme.
- Making available support packages for fossil fuel workers to aid their transition to new sectors.