Scottish Liberal Democrats have lodged amendments to the Heat Networks Bill to introduce targets intended to decarbonise Scotland's schools.
The amendments lodged by Liam McArthur MSP would introduce new duties to consider how to connect schools to green Heat Networks as part of a bid drive to decarbonise the school estate.
Such proposals have been championed by the Teach the Future group, who are campaigning to put the climate emergency at the centre of education in Scotland and to arm the next generation with the facts and tools they need to combat the climate crises.
As part of this campaign, students say that all new state-funded Scottish educational buildings should be net-zero from 2022 and all existing state-funded Scottish educational buildings should be retrofitted to net-zero by 2030. The group say “If our education system is to teach students about sustainability, the buildings they learn within must be sustainable”.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“The climate crisis needs to be front and centre of every part of Scottish life. We can accept nothing less if we are to turn the tide on global warming.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats were instrumental in setting Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets. Now, we want those warm words to be turned into real action from the Scottish Government.
“Young people have shown what it looks like to take responsibility for our environmental obligations. The school strikes were inspiring, and forced progress when the status quo went against them. I hope the Scottish Government will take heed from Scotland’s young people.
“Teach the Future have set out a compelling case to put the climate emergency at the heart of Scottish education, so that the next generation are armed and ready for what is coming their way. But as it stands, they might be learning those lessons in buildings that are part of the problem.
“My amendments would kickstart the change needed to overhaul the learning estate, so that Scotland has schools we can be proud of. I hope all parties recognise the need and support these radical and credible suggestions.”
Commenting on the amendments, a Teach the Future spokesperson said:
"For students to fully understand and appreciate the values of sustainability, it is essential that they are being taught in a place which echoes the world they will live in. We cannot expect students to be the next leaders if their own schools do not reflect the world they will be leading.
“Therefore, this amendment which works towards the aim of carbon-zero school buildings is a critical part of sustainability education and an essential change to meet our carbon-neutrality aims."