Poorest must not be hit in drive to achieve climate targets

Fuel poverty web

Citizens Advice Scotland has said it is important inequality is not increased as politicians aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions targets

20th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has called for honesty from policy makers over who will foot the bill in the move towards a more sustainable economy.

Ahead of climate strikes set to take place across the world today (Friday 20 September), Citizens Advice Scotland welcomed the fact that climate change is firmly on the agenda for politicians and business, but warned that the cost of moving to net zero emissions should not fall heaviest on the poorest.

The call comes as over half a million households in Scotland live in fuel poverty. 

Speaking ahead of the climate strikes today (Friday), Citizens Advice Scotland strategic lead for fair markets, Dr Jamie Stewart said it is vital that inequalities are not increased.

“The climate emergency is now firmly on the agenda,” he said. “We are seeing commitments from politicians to tackle the crisis and pledges from major companies to cut their emissions as part of corporate social responsibility.

“That’s welcome progress, but it’s essential now that policy makers take steps to ensure that cutting emissions to meet net zero targets doesn’t increase inequality in our society.

“In the energy sector, public and private investment in domestic energy efficiency and renewable technology should be rolled out in a way that benefits the most vulnerable first, especially with half a million households in Scotland living in fuel poverty.

“There also needs to be honesty about who foots the bill for developing infrastructure which will let us meet climate targets. We can’t expect people who are already just about managing to support things like electric vehicle charging networks if it means paying more on their bills. 

“So while we are at the exciting cusp of warm words being turned into action – that action must be well thought through, fair and provide support and protection to those already struggling in today’s society.”