Churches host event on housing and a low-carbon economy

An event, hosted by Eco-Congregation Scotland and the Methodist Church working with Scotland's Just Transition Commission will look at how Scotland can move to a low-carbon economy by 2045 while ensuring everyone can afford to heat their homes.

climate change rally
Young people rally to demand action on climate change outside the Scottish Parliament.

The discussion will be held online this Saturday, 17 October, from 10am -12.30pm and will feature speakers from the Just Transition Commission, Warmworks, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Existing Homes Alliance Scotland and Power Circle.

The Just Transition Commission was set up to advise the Scottish Government as it develops plans to move to a low-carbon economy by 2045.

Speakers at the event will share their thoughts on how we can combine meeting our climate targets with improving energy affordability and lowering fuel poverty.

Adrian Shaw, the Church of Scotland's Climate Officer will speak about the opportunities and challenges for churches during the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Following the speakers everyone will be invited to contribute to an open discussion on heat-efficient buildings and how to achieve a low-carbon economy while ensuring energy is affordable for all.

You can register for this free event on the Eco-Congregation Scotland website.

A good opportunity to care for creation

At the 2020 General Assembly the Church of Scotland voted to develop a strategy for the entire organisation to transition both locally and nationally to net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Welcoming that decision and encouraging interested people to sign-up for the online event Mr Shaw said:

"Transforming Scotland's housing is essential for a just transition to a low carbon economy. Far too many people live in fuel poverty in Scotland, and yet at the same time poorly insulated housing contributes a large portion of Scotland's carbon footprint.

"To care for each other and care for creation everyone in Scotland must be able to enjoy affordable and low-carbon heating at home.

"The Church of Scotland has long been concerned about fuel poverty and climate change. Addressing the two together should now be a priority for all. This conference is a great opportunity to explore what this means in practice."

Equity must be at centre of transition

Scotland's ambitious climate change targets will require the housing sector to radically transform itself at a pace previously unseen. Making homes more energy efficient and heated from low-carbon sources presents an opportunity to improve the quality of our housing stock, tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.

Concerns have also been raised about how this is paid for, and whether the shift to net-zero in the housing sector could risk sliding more households into fuel poverty.

Just Transition Commissioner, Norrie Kerr says: "We need to put an end to fuel poverty with bold action to make people's homes warmer and cheaper to heat. Equity considerations must be central to climate action, if we are to make the transition to net-zero in a way that improves the lives of the most vulnerable.

"This event will provide an opportunity to hear from experts and ordinary people on these issues and contribute ideas on how Scotland can achieve this."

Challenge to make lives better

Rev Mark Slaney, the Chair of the Methodist Church in Scotland, who will be chairing the event, said:

"We have to find ways of meeting our climate targets which make lives better not worse for the least well off in our society. I look forward to an imaginative and stimulating discussion which will contribute both to the work of the Commission and to Scotland's preparation for the COP26 climate summit next year."

There is still time to register for this free event, pre-registration is highly recommended.Register here to attend the event.

The list of speakers

Norrie Kerr of the Just Transition Commission

Elizabeth Leighton of the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland

Jon Cape from Power Circle

Ross Armstrong from Warmworks

Robert Leslie from Orkney Housing Association, a member of theScottish Federation of Housing Associations

Eco-Congregation Scotland is an ecumenical environmental charity supporting over 500 local churches of all denominations across Scotland, committed to environmental activities in their life and mission. Scottish churches will be encouraged to become more focused on addressing the climate crisis over the coming year, meeting the opportunities presented by Glasgow hosting theCOP26 United Nations climate talks from 1-12 November 2021.