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by Staff reporter
23 January 2023
Scottish 'climate intelligence unit' call to help meet net zero targets

Edward Mountain MSP

Scottish 'climate intelligence unit' call to help meet net zero targets

Scotland needs a "climate intelligence unit" to help councils contribute to net zero goals, according to a year-long enquiry.

Published today, a report by MSPs says Scotland will not achieve its net zero goal by 2045 without major help for local government.

They are calling on the Scottish Government to set out a "comprehensive roadmap" giving councils detailed guidance on how they can help meet climate goals.

Holyrood's Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee says a "more empowered" local government sector also needs better access to skills and capital to make its full contribution to net zero.

The committee's report calls for additional financial support to councils in future budget cycles for climate purposes.

An estimated £33bn will be required to decarbonise heat in buildings alone and the report says it is "essential" to attract private investment at scale.

It also calls for an expanded role for the Scottish National Investment Bank and new work on strategies to secure deals with investors.

Meanwhile, it claims councils should set targets covering all emissions in their area and take a "more consistent" approach to net zero planning, budgeting and target-setting.

However, there is a skills deficit at local government level, it is claimed, and the drive to meet existing targets is making "unprecedented and often highly technical demands" on the sector. 

And it recommends the creation of a new "climate intelligence unit" to provide specialist help to councils in areas where in-depth technical knowledge is lacking.

Committee convener Edward Mountain said councils are "uniquely well-placed to form the partnerships we're going to need at a local and regional level" but "unless key barriers facing local government are dealt with, we will not reach net zero by 2045."

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