Satwat Rehman and Dave Reay appointed as co-chairs of Scotland’s Just Transition Commission

New Just Transition Commission co-chair Satwat Rehman on a visit to Queens Quay district heating network Clydebank. (Photo: Chris Watt - Just Transition Commission)

SCOTLAND’S Just Transition Commission has new leadership following the appointment of Satwat Rehman and Prof. Dave Reay as co-chairs. They will succeed Prof. Jim Skea, who led the Commission since its inception in 2019 but stepped down this month following his election to chair the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Satwat Rehman is the chief executive of One Parent Families Scotland and has been a member of the Commission since 2022. Prof. Dave Reay will combine his new role as co-chair of the Commission with his work leading the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute.

The independent expert advisory group advises the Scottish Government on how the country can achieve a carbon neutral economy fairly. It aims to make sure the benefits and burdens caused by major changes are shared as fairly as possible.

Members drawn from industry, business and finance, trade unions, environmental and community groups, and academia serve on the Commission. They provide expert scrutiny and advice on a series of just transition plans that cover different regions and sectors of Scotland’s economy.

Dave Reay said: “It is such an honour to be asked to co-chair the Just Transition Commission. In the years since its inception it has been a guiding light for climate action locally, nationally, and internationally too. As Scotland, and the whole world, faces increasingly stark choices on how to realise a fair and resilient transition to net zero the Commission’s work has never been more important.”

Satwat Rehman said: “As co-chair of the Just Transition Commission, I will draw on many years of work on social justice and equalities issues. So much hard work has gone into firmly establishing just transition as a shared goal in Scotland and that’s rightly recognised internationally. Now it’s time to turn the aspiration into a reality. The cost of living crisis makes this really urgent and emphasises the need to ensure we have an orderly and just transition to net zero that addresses existing inequalities and does not create new ones. I’m honoured to lead the Commission into this next challenging phase.”

Jim Skea said: “I’m delighted that the Commission will be led into its next phase by Satwat Rehman and Dave Reay. Both are outstanding leaders in their fields. Their deep knowledge of climate and justice issues, and their skill in building consensus, will be key in moving Scotland’s approach to just transition forward.”

Two weeks ago the Commission published a series of reports pinpointing major challenges and opportunities in bringing down carbon emissions across three key sectors of Scotland’s economy: transport, the built environment and construction industry, and land use and agriculture.

The Commission says farmers need much more information about the changes that will be made to bring down carbon emissions. It warns that unless difficult and honest conversations about the future of farming happen now there is a risk of slowing down Scotland’s progress and making it harder for unavoidable changes to happen in a fair way.

On transport, the Commission said that reducing how much we drive can be part of a better and fairer transport system, as long as plans account for the needs of low paid and essential workers, disabled people and those with caring responsibilities. The Commission said Scotland’s current transport system makes increased social isolation a risk.

On buildings, the Commission’s report set out key steps for delivering the huge new workforce that will be required to deliver Scotland’s ambitions to retrofit homes and buildings, including action to improve pay and conditions in the construction industry and changes to public procurement rules.

In its first regular report published last summer, the Commission said the cost-of-living crisis means major changes need to be made urgently to decarbonise the country’s economy, benefit those most in need and secure lots of good jobs.

The Just Transition Commission’s remit is to:

  • Scrutinise the development of just transition plans led by the Scottish Government
  • Advise on the best approach to monitoring and evaluation of the just transition
  • Engage with people most likely to be impacted by the transition, hearing from a wide range of representative voices.
  • The Commission will publish a report each year scrutinising Scotland’s progress as well as short reports with findings on specific sectors and issues.

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