THE right to work from home should be enshrined in Scots law to help combat climate change, according to a respected think tank which also calls for curbs on cruise ships being allowed in the nation's waters.

The measures come in a radical 21-point blueprint for Scotland supported by some of the contributing authors to climate crisis action reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which acts as a rallying cry for immediate action this year ahead of crucial COP26 climate talks in Glasgow in the autumn.

Produced by the energy policy group of the Common Weal think tank, it says that home working "saves energy and time", and that those who want to should be given the legal right to do so.

"People should not be forced to carry on working from home if they don’t want to – some jobs are hard or impossible to do from home, some people lack the space and facilities to do so and some people genuinely enjoy working from offices," the blueprint says.

"The Scottish Government itself introduced a home working policy long before the pandemic hit, so the precedent has already been set by those who could make home working a legal right. Let’s take that last and final step."

It comes as a new IPCC report today sets out a stark message on the state of the climate crisis, raising pressure on governments meeting for the crucial COP26 talks. It is the first part of a review of current scientific knowledge about how the world is warming due to human activity.

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It is the first such global assessment since 2013, when scientists found that global warming was “unequivocal” and human influence on the climate was clear, with the majority of warming since the 1950s extremely likely to be down to human activity.

The message in the latest report is expected to be even stronger, with warnings of how soon global temperatures could rise 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – a limit that countries have pledged to try to avoid breaching because of the dangerous consequences for humanity.

READ MORE: The costed £175bn green revolution for Scotland that creates 100,000 jobs and pays for itself

To coincide with its publication, Common Weal set out its strategy for Scotland, and highlighted some radical new thinking for implementation this year to address the emergency and accelerate action on climate change.

It said that home working will help Scotland meet tough carbon emission targets with the Scottish Government already seeking to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans in less than ten years.

The revised version of 2018’s climate change plan brought forward the ban from 2032 to 2030, alongside more than 100 other policies to help the nation meet its emissions reduction targets.

The plan followed the setting of legally binding climate change targets by the Scottish Government of cutting emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 and to net-zero by 2045.

According to figures for 2019, the Scottish Government has again missed its climate targets.

Common Weal said staff working from home can be more productive and enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction while enjoying more flexibility to live further from their jobs.

That frees up the hours and money they spend commuting for "more useful things" which improve mental health.

The group said that demand for public transport and road congestion during the rush hours would be reduced.

And with fewer staff needing to be accommodated, employers can save money on office space, which in turn can free up more properties for affordable living in inner cities. And the think tank says that goes "some way" to helping cut energy consumption and tackle climate change."

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MSPs  and MPsmeeting virtually enabled more people to participate in democracy, particularly those with disabilities and caring responsibilities.

It also said 2021 should be the year in which a quota is introduced on the number of cruise ships allowed into Scottish waters and ports.

"Cruise ships are by far the most environmentally unfriendly form of travel, being responsible for around 8-9 times the emissions per passenger mile than air travel as well as the issue of pollution from fuel," the think tank said.

"Furthermore, cruise ship passengers generate relatively little income for the communities they visit as tourists – they are accommodated and receive most of their meals on board and the taxes on those services are paid to whichever country the company is registered in," it said.

"On top of this, in cities such as Edinburgh they generate increased traffic congestion as passengers are ferried from the ports to the must-see sights and back again..."

It pointed out that the problem is now so acute that cities such as Venice and Barcelona are restricting access by cruise ships.

"There is huge potential in terms of the decarbonisation of shipping...," Common Weal said.

The group also said there should be an immediate ban on new oil and gas exploration and Scottish restrictions on flights and airport expansions.

It said that as Scotland has "bountiful renewable energy resources" there is now no need for "dangerous and pollution fuels" and says that 2021 should be the year coal is banned and that the last Scots nuclear plant is shut as the nation sets a route map for phasing out all fossil fuel.

The plan also demands that public sector bodies stop investing in fossil fuels through vehicles such as pension funds in the next year.

The proposals are supported by IPCC report contributing authort Bill McGuire, professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at the University College London. who said: “This is exactly the sort of brilliant and imaginative initiative that is needed for there to be any chance of reaching the climate targets that the science demands.

"It is inclusive, just and progressive, and is designed to take the people of Scotland forward into a green future that benefits everyone. "It has my full support, and I very much hope it will provide a blueprint for both Scotland and other nations to follow, as they strive to head off the threat of catastrophic climate breakdown.”

The 21 for 21 report which tells of the climate change actions Scotland needs now and is drawn from six years of policy work on energy and climate change also calls for a Scottish Energy Development Agency to "plan properly and coherently" the infrastructure and policies needed to decarbonise Scotland.

A national energy company would drive forward the energy infrastructure Scotland needs – and keep it in collective ownership.

It said an urgent plan is needed for the retrofitting of every house in Scotland to get them up to "proper environmental standards" and guarantee people warm, comfortable homes.

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And it wants a law introduced that requires all producers of significant amounts of waste heat to capture that heat for heating homes The Common Weal report argues that since almost no country is better placed to take action than Scotland, "we must urgently work together across society, government, public sector, private business and academia to put these actions into practice to create a greener, fairer and more resilient nation".

Dr Jess Britton, an IPCC contributing author and research fellow at the University of Edinburgh and University of Exeter said: “Ambitious climate targets need to translate in to ambitious, rapid and comprehensive action if we’re to stand any chance of avoiding climate breakdown. Common Weal’s 21 actions do just this - setting out tangible ways to deliver on rapid emission reductions whilst also supporting a fairer society in Scotland.”

Commenting on the report Douglas Chapman MP, the SNP's small business, enterprise and innovation spokesman said: "21 For 21 is a vital political, social and economic call to arms to address the urgent and epic climate crisis.

"In Scotland there is a strong willingness across society and government to act together to drive down carbon emissions and play our part in the global battle against climate change and we have already made great strides forward on our ambitions.

"Now it is this commitment that we must harness alongside our abundant natural resources and renewable potential to refocus hearts and minds on the critical task ahead. We have the tools, skills and talent that we need to act; now we have an evidence-based blueprint backed by experts in the field of climate science. Let’s grasp this opportunity together Scotland.”