Union bosses have warned that the UK and Scottish governments must “get to grips with their responsibilities” after their climate advisers warned that a “hands-off approach” to shifting workers into renewables will not be good enough.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises both the UK and Scottish governments on their net zero strategies, has called for stronger policies to be drawn up to ensure that the just transition for energy workers can be fully achieved.

The appeal comes after the Scottish Government published its draft energy strategy and just transition plan, with officials analysing a public consultation that closed earlier this month.

The CCC has undertaken new analysis which has found that the majority of workers across the UK will see no major impacts from the transition to net zero.

Scotland has committed to reaching net zero by 2045, five years ahead of the UK-wide target.

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The CCC has found that the net zero pledge offers the potential for significant employment creation across the UK, with estimates of between 135,000 and 725,000 new jobs in low-carbon sectors in areas such as buildings retrofit, renewable energy generation and electric vehicles.

But the advisers have warned that growth of jobs is not guaranteed and will require active reskilling and upskilling of the workforce in key areas, with the need for government support.

Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, said: “The UK has committed to net zero. The only question is whether the Government intends to get there in a way that benefits workers or leaves them behind.

“This is a unique moment to tailor our approach to skills and jobs, in the certainty of achieving the legal goal.

"A net zero workforce means secure employment for the future. This is an opportunity for the Government to bring real meaning to ‘levelling up’.”

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Union bosses have shared the need for both governments to actively bring forward policies to support the transition for workers.

STUC general secretary, Roz Foyer, said: “There is a shared desire from our trade union movement to achieve net zero but this cannot be done at the expense of the workforce.

“We agree with the report, the government cannot be ‘hands-off’. We need to see sustained investment, with government intervention to ensure high-quality, well-renumerated jobs remain in the sector.

“Too often, energy transitions have allowed corporate interests to strip assets, decimate the workforce and workplace rights whilst boosting private profits.”

She added: “There won't be any opportunity to reach net zero without the workers in these sectors and the Scottish and UK Government need to get to grips with their responsibilities, including creating jobs locally and to take taking back our energy system into our own hands through democratic public ownership.”

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Ministers have been warned that the UK risks missing out on opportunities to capture low-carbon market shares by not supporting skills that attract investment to the UK – with competitive pressure from new green subsidies for manufacturing in the United States and the European Union.

But the CCC has stressed that net zero can boost employment in economically deprived areas with the sectors expected to see the largest employment growth including buildings construction and retrofit, transport and low-carbon energy supply.

The advisers said that the first major sites for decarbonised industry are expected to be in South Wales and the Humber, which aim to exploit hydrogen and carbon capture technology.

The Scottish carbon capture and hydrogen bid, the Acorn project in the north east, could also join those areas, with the UK Government expected to give more certainty over funding timescales over the summer.

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The CCC’s research found that government intervention is not necessary in every sector of the economy, but it warned that clear policy direction for each sector is important, combined with a responsive education and skill system.

Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) workforce engagement and skills manager, Alix Thom, said: “As an industry, we’re proud to have a world-class workforce that is key to meeting our energy needs now and in the future.

“Supporting our people is a core commitment agreed by the offshore energy industry and the UK Government as part of the North Sea Transition Deal. The deal aims to make the UK’s energy cleaner, support jobs, deliver net zero emissions and ensure energy security.

“Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland have always been one of Europe’s premier energy hubs and must remain so throughout the transition.

“We want to see continued investment in the area to ensure that our people can play their vital part in moving us to a net zero economy.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf has insisted that the Scottish Government will not throw oil and gas workers “on the scrapheap” as part of the just transition, but has declined to say whether he would support an acceleration of winding down the industry at a faster pace in light of the climate crisis.