A new investment programme has been launched which will eventually unlock £200 million of public sector investment to help Scotland achieve its net zero target.
The Green Growth Accelerator will speed up low carbon infrastructure projects across the country, providing extra resources and technical support to local authorities.
Applications are now open for six projects – which will be developed with £1 million – to help test the model ahead of further rollout in 2022/23.
It has been developed in collaboration with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) and announced by Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament on addressing the global climate emergency.
Mr Matheson said: “Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge and respond to the global climate emergency and our dedication to ending our contribution to climate change by 2045 is absolute.
“Urgent, collective and collaborative action is required in order to ensure a just transition to net-zero.
“If we all play our part, Scotland can show the rest of the world how it’s done – and ensure our people, businesses and communities can benefit from a greener, more sustainable economy.
“By capitalising on our strengths in energy, natural capital, innovation, and our skilled workforce, we can be at the forefront of growing global low carbon markets in the future.
“The Green Growth Accelerator illustrates how, working together across government, business and communities, we can capitalise on the economic, environmental and social benefits that our journey to net-zero present.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland has called on the climate emergency to be “at the forefront of the new parliament’s focus”.
However, the group has raised concerns the Scottish Parliament motion “makes no direct reference to the future of oil and gas”.
Caroline Rance, the group’s climate and energy campaigner, said: “Silence on the future of fossil fuels is a glaring omission. The Scottish Government continues to support the extraction of every last drop of oil and gas possible from the North Sea.
“This is simply incompatible with the climate crisis and the Scottish Government must prioritise workers and climate over oil company profits.
“A rapid and fair transition away from fossil fuels can create new jobs for people who work in the sector to transfer their skills and experience.
“A clear timescale for winding down production is essential to ensure this process is managed properly for the climate, workers and communities affected by this transition.
“The Scottish Government’s current climate plans rely heavily on industry greenwashing technologies like carbon capture, fossil hydrogen and hare-brained schemes to burn massive numbers of trees for energy.
“These illusory projects risk distracting the Government from the hard work of developing the concrete projects that we know will cut emissions in the here and now, such as boosting home energy efficiency and public transport.”