A MAJOR report from Scotland’s Just Transition Commission (JTC) has called for a five-fold investment in net zero – but has highlighted that Scotland’s powers are limited in the Union.

Published today, the report says urgent changes must be made to tackle the cost of living crisis for job security and to help those in need.

“Annual net zero investment needs to grow more than five-fold by 2030,” the report says. “We recognise the real limitations of reserved policy levers on financing the just transition and encourage the Scottish Government to propose an expansion of fiscal and monetary levers in its review of the Smith Commission with the UK Government.”

Despite this, there is still improvement that can be made at present, the report found: “At the same time, the Scottish Government should fully exercise what powers it does have now to set the foundations for a transformative just transition.”

Commission members are drawn from areas such as industry, business, finance and trade unions, and serve until the next election.

They scrutinise and advance transition plans to cover areas of Scotland’s economy.

The National: National Extra Scottish politics newsletter banner

Each year, they produce a report, scrutinising Scotland’s progress and what can be done to improve.

Just Transition Committee chair Jim Skea said: “Today’s report is about the practicalities of delivering a just transition for Scotland.

“We have identified strategic opportunities, risks and roadblocks, and the actions required to address these. Scotland’s approach to tackling these complex challenges has already attracted interest and admiration around the world.

“This ambition now needs to be matched with action from government, and across society, that materially enhances the livelihoods and well-being of people across the country as we decarbonise rapidly and at scale.”

In Scotland’s energy sector, the report requests an energy road map, to allow industry and business to plan more effectively and use supply chains for clean energy generation and transmission. However, major investment is still needed in infrastructure around these areas.

Net Zero Technology Centre chief executive and JTC member Colette Cohen said: “The Commission has identified strategic priorities that include the need for an energy roadmap that drives down the cost of clean energy solutions; a focus on workforce planning; investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure; and innovation enablers such as test and demonstration sites.

“As our energy industry transitions, we must build on our engineering and science heritage and take the people, passion and skills with us to a new net zero future with energy security, sustainable jobs and an energy system fit for the 21st century.”

The report said rise in fuel poverty means action is urgently needed to bring down energy bills and make homes more energy efficient.

Director of WWF Scotland and Commission member Lang Banks said: “With the number of households living in fuel poverty set to dramatically increase, we’re going to need to see existing schemes to tackle fuel poverty ramped up and expanded.

“It’s clear that the focus must remain on targeting support at those most in need, both in the immediate term and the longer-term by improving the energy efficiency of homes and replacing fossil fuel heating systems with renewable alternatives.”

READ MORE: More of the same will not improve lives of non-binary people, say charities

Similarly, the report highlights that transport must change in order to tackle this crisis: “The rapid improvement and broadening of mass public transport must be a priority for government, in order to deliver a much higher quality of service and well-paid, secure employment for transit workers.

“Continued failure here guarantees locking-in and worsening existing inequalities as we decarbonise.”

And future farm support will help protect agricultural communities to bring down carbon emissions.

Banks continued: “The Scottish Government’s forthcoming plans for future farm support regime must ensure businesses remain viable while carrying out actions to reduce emissions, as well as supporting producers to diversify their incomes while ensuring benefits don’t simply accrue to wealthy landowners.”