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Call for institution to monitor climate policy

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A new body would measure progress on combating climate-related events such as flooding

An Office of Climate Responsibility should be established to monitor progress on meeting climate changes, says a Scottish think tank.

It would be set up jointly by the UK and devolved governments to test every action by ministers, the private sector and civil society.

The proposal emerges in a report by Our Scottish Future (OSF) written by sustainability expert Dr Peter Wood.

Entitled A Net Negative Nation – hitting Scotland’s climate targets, it suggests the OCR emulates the work of the Office for Budget Responsibility.

It would provide rapid reaction in each parliament of the UK on whether ministers were living up to green pledges. 

The OSF paper also backs a UK wide Agency on Climate Cooperation– chaired by the First Minister of Scotland – to direct investment on the coming green revolution and calls on all governments to do more to inspire community action, and individual and social activism. 

Writing the foreword to the paper, former Scottish Green party leader Robin Harper, chairman of OSF’s Environmental Commission, writes: “We need to co-operate rather than compete; we need constructive dialogue; and in the face of the environmental emergency that looms, we should be abandoning the toxic binary politics of today in favour of constructive dialogue.” 

The call for a UK wide shake-up follows warnings this week by Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, that targets set by the Scottish Government to slash carbon by 75% of 1990 levels by 2030 are likely to be “enormously challenging” without “deep cooperation with UK policies for decarbonising”. 

Today’s OSF report confirms official figures which show that, between 2016 and 2019, the rapid process of decarbonisation in Scotland has stalled. 

The paper is published after James Alexander, chief executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, told the Edinburgh COP26 Summit, organised by the city’s Chamber of Commerce, that all government policy should be measured against carbon targets.

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