A YEAR ago, politicians, experts and activists from across the globe committed to 2020 being the year when we took the bold, clear and radical action needed to tackle climate change once and for all. But, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic very quickly disrupted everything we knew – our ways of working, how we would travel around our city and even our shopping habits.

While less people were jetting off on summer holidays, more people were avoiding public transport and taking their cars on essential business. We saw a staggering increase in single-use plastics as businesses and individuals tried to get to grips with new guidelines and across Scotland much of that waste was being exported to other countries to be dealt with. While our news headlines and our lives were focused on an enemy we weren’t expecting, the climate emergency rampaged on and 2021 must be the year we do something about it. We must see it as an opportunity, as our city and country begins to recover, because we don’t have any other option but to.

And we know Glasgow has a huge role to play in that. In November, we will host COP26, which has been dubbed the most important climate conference the world has ever seen – world leaders will descend on our city to take part in the negotiations that will hopefully give us a plan to halt this emergency in its tracks.

But, for me, we have questions to ask and work to do well before November, at a much more local level.

Glasgow City Council is currently seeking responses to its consultation on the Climate Emergency Implementation Plan. I welcomed this when it was announced as an opportunity for Glaswegians and organisations dedicated to tackling this crisis across our city to have their voice heard on what our council’s next steps and priorities should be in this fight, because it’s clear the current plan falls short when it comes to ambition.

We need a plan for well-paid, unionised, green jobs that involves workers and trade unions. We need a more integrated, accessible and affordable public transport network for our city that prioritises people over profit and actively works to protect socially necessary routes. We need to support and expand current projects like the work being done by Glasgow Community Energy if we’re serious about our carbon-neutral city target, and the Strathclyde Pension Fund must commit to divesting from fossil fuels – moving away from those potentially stranded assets that are harming our planet, investing in the renewable and more environmentally friendly sector and making sure that pensions are protected for decades to come.

The greatest legacy that we can leave is by building back to a better, fairer, sustainable city. Glasgow needs a radical Green New Deal, which puts people over profit, that takes communities and workers with us on that journey.
But we can’t trust this SNP administration to pick up the bins on time. How can we trust them to meet the scale of our ambition?