The final stage of the Resilient Scotland Plan runs from 2025 with the upcoming Parliamentary session ending with Scotland becoming an independent country.
All of the work started in Part Two will continue and the work that could not start due to the limitations of devolution can now commence.
By 2045, the plan will be completely and Scotland will have been transformed into a net zero-carbon country with a resilient economy that works for All of Us.
Part One of the Resilient Scotland plan covered the immediate recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic up until the 2021 Scottish elections. Part Two covered the four years of the next Parliamentary term and laid the foundations of the plan to come. It worked within the constraints of devolution but will bring Scotland to the point of having done everything it can do within those constraints. This third and final part of the Plan takes Scotland into the delivery phase where it completes the work started in the previous phases as part of a 20 year plan which will take Scotland up to 2045 and the point where it meets its target to be a net zero carbon nation.
The 20 year period for delivering the Green New Deal will not begin for five years so will still be underway 25 years from now. The scope for major social, economic and political change over that period is enormous, in Scotland, in the UK, in Europe and around the world. New technologies will be invented, new discoveries made, new thinking will emerge.
Trying to guess or predict what that might mean is futile – 25 years ago the internet was a few years old, very basic and a complete mystery to most of the population and shopping from home involved a catalogue, phone call and a very long wait. The Resilient Scotland Plan is not intended as a work of futurology and so, after briefly considering the kinds of social development that might be possible it will focus on the things we know we need to do no matter what happens.
The bulk of that is about reducing Scotland’s negative environmental impact to zero through an extensive Green New Deal, embedding a transformed economy at the same time. Common Weal dedicated most of last year to developing a comprehensive, costed proposal to achieve exactly that and published it as the Common Home Plan.
The Resilient Scotland Plan provides extensive detail on a practicable, deliverable programme for achieving what everyone now says is necessary – a vibrant, green economy
which creates good jobs and delivers economic fairness. It is well past the time where it is viable for individuals and organisations still to be talking about broadly supporting the principle and we are now racing past the point where vague aspirations and boiler-plate language should be accepted. It is no good to talk about ‘green investment’ if, by now, we are not identifying where that investment should come from, who should pay for it and how, and where specifically that investment should be going. It is farcical to suggest that a bit more of what we’re currently doing is even close to sufficient. Pick your crisis – Covid or the environment. Either in themselves requires an expenditure of effort and a level of investment that societies make only every few generations. Combine them and the case for being that generation is overwhelming.
Common Weal pioneered the word ‘resilient’ to describe this process for a very specific reason. What creates environmental vulnerability is the same thing that creates economic and social vulnerability. It is the economy in which we were promised all failures would be ended through growth – yet it is the economy where 40 years of growth have actually accelerated the failures and caused an increase in the rate at which the economy ‘falls over’ in the face of even minor crises. It is time for Scotland to use its eyes and its brains. If we are promised that growth fixes everything. If, after 40 years of growth, so many things got worse. If that economy gets more vulnerable the more it stretches supply chains and the more it extracts. If so, how can more of the same achieve resilience? Resilience is not made out of vulnerability, it is the alternative to vulnerability.
If we have learned anything through the Covid crisis it is that half measures and hoping for the best achieve next to nothing. You do it – or you don’t do it. This Plan is something serious we can do.
So will we do it? It’s up to us.