Provide everyone with accurate information, comprehensive education, and lifelong learning across Scotland to support behavioural, vocational and societal change to tackle the climate emergency, and ensure everyone can understand the environmental impact of different actions and choices.

Children’s Parliament: Help people understand what they can do to tackle climate change. This would involve having adverts on TV and social media about creating less waste, buying less things, buying local products, travelling less to different countries, and saving energy.

Children’s Parliament: Help children to play, learn and have hobbies outside. This is so when children grow up, they go outside more often and want to look after our nature.

Children’s Parliament: Involve children in decisions being made about tackling the climate emergency. This could be in school, in communities or at a national level – like the Climate Assembly!

We have published our Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change. This strategy outlines our overarching framework for engaging the people of Scotland in the national effort required to successfully realise the ambition included within the updated Climate Change Plan. It puts people at the heart of our decision making, and we are clear that, in order to achieve our goals, we must move from incremental changes to supporting a society-wide transformation. Climate change education is a key part of this – as part of formal curriculum, to wider society engagement.

Our vision is: Everyone in Scotland recognises the implications of the global climate emergency, fully understands and contributes to Scotland’s response, and embraces their role in the transition to a net zero and climate ready Scotland. To achieve this we are taking forward our Public Engagement Strategy including:

  • Addressing climate change in the school, early learning and childcare curriculum, including through the cross-cutting theme of Learning for Sustainability as well as implementing our Learning for Sustainability Action Plan. We will continue to work collaboratively with partner organisations to support education leaders, practitioners and learners develop the skills and knowledge to learn and teach about climate change.
  • We continue to deliver outdoor play and learning as an integral, everyday part of ELC in Scotland, supported by the Health and Social Care Standards and the National Standard for funded ELC providers. We are working with practitioners to develop their understanding of outdoor pedagogy and to grow strong communities of practice
  • Delivering a national marketing campaign, “let’s do net zero” to raise awareness of the global climate emergency and the need for action. This is supported by our website, NetZeroNation.Scot, which aims to help everyone understand how they can play their part in the global climate emergency; provide resources to individuals, communities, and organisations; and become a hub for Scotland’s collective response to the climate emergency.
  • Working to develop community led climate action by supporting communities to play a role in supporting our green recovery and shaping and driving forward our just transition to a net zero nation. This includes a range of new initiatives such as the development of regional action hubs and climate action towns, as well as supporting Scotland’s Climate Festival Programme. More information on community led climate action can be found under Goal 10.

As we develop our approach and implement our strategy, we will ensure that the Climate Assembly’s recommendations are taken into account. We will also continue to identify opportunities to ensure that our children and young people have a voice in our future, and can further influence policy design in Scotland, such as in our Just Transition Plans.

Following analysis of the Assembly’s recommendations, the Scottish Government will take the following actions:

  • We have established a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan Implementation Steering Group to drive activity and develop an Implementation Plan to set out a route map for skills provision in Scotland, supporting the retraining and upskilling needed for the transition to net zero.
  • We will publish a bespoke public engagement strategy for heat in buildings.
  • We are updating and strengthening our Learning for Sustainability Action Plan and will ensure the content of this takes full account of the Assembly’s recommendations.

Recommendation 38: Change Energy Efficiency Culture

Drive culture change to enable the public to understand that improving energy efficiency in homes is the responsible thing to do.

 

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports this recommendation and will publish a bespoke public engagement strategy to raise the profile of energy efficiency and zero emissions heat.

 

The Heat in Buildings Strategy commits to implementing a bespoke public engagement strategy for heat in buildings. This will build on the Scottish Government’s Net Zero Nation campaign (which highlights home energy as a key area), and the guiding principles of the Scottish Government Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change, as well as the Assembly’s recommendation.

The strategy will focus on raising the profile of energy efficiency and zero emissions heating options so that people are aware of the benefits and begin to see them as a positive choice, enabling people to actively participate in shaping the development of Scottish Government policy and incentives, as well as local level heat and energy efficiency planning, and promoting the support that is on offer from both the Scottish and UK Governments to maximise take up over the five years of this strategy.

Further to this, Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies will also form a basis for local public engagement, and will be in place for all local authority areas by the end of 2023. There is also ongoing Scottish Government supported activity to encourage uptake of low and zero emissions heating, for example through Warmer Homes Scotland and Home Energy Scotland.

The relaunch and expansion of our Green Homes and Business Network will also support people to learn from households, businesses and organisations who have already taken action to make their property warmer, greener and more efficient.


Recommendation 39: Sustainable Diet Public Information Campaigns

Initiate public information campaigns, including education for children and families, that deliver accessible advice and information on transitioning to a sustainable diet.

Children’s Parliament: Teach children and adults about environmentally-friendly diets and reducing food waste.

Children’s Parliament: Make community gardens and allotments for everyone. This would involve teaching children and adults about growing their own food, and using schools for giving out saplings, seeds and tools. Have a special day in Scotland where everyone works in their gardens to grow food.

Children’s Parliament: Launch a national plant-based diet week to raise awareness.

 

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports this recommendation and will continue to provide advice and information on the benefits of healthy, nutritious, plant-based and low carbon foods, including sustainably produced fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood and meat.

 

The Scottish Government has a number of existing programmes of work that support people to increase their consumption of fruit, vegetables and fibre. The Healthy Living Programme operates in over 2,300 convenience stores and helps to increase fruit and vegetable purchases through signage and training. Parent Club promotes tips and skills for healthier eating for families living on a budget and includes over 200 recipes, based on healthier eating criteria and aimed at increasing the intake of fruit and vegetables.

Funding for Community Food Networks helps groups to provide access to healthier, affordable and culturally appropriate food and drink, especially those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage. These groups are also closely linked to community growing groups.

Our national climate change marketing campaign, Let’s Do Net Zero, included food as one of four main areas for messaging. As part of the work to promote this campaign, Scotland’s national chef, Gary Maclean, developed a number of healthy recipes and posted them on social media. We also engaged a team of social media influencers, some of whom were food bloggers and focussed their content on healthy eating and sustainable diets. Our Net Zero Nation website also includes a section on eating sustainable foods, and links users to Food Standards Scotland advice, guidance and a seasonality calendar.

A report from the Carbon Trust found that if more people in Scotland adhered to existing dietary guidelines, it would result in health benefits and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Food Standards Scotland have developed Eat Well Your Way, an online resource that helps consumers understand what a healthy balanced diet looks like in real life by translating the Eatwell Guide into meaningful, practical advice and tips to help people in Scotland make healthier food and drink choices when planning, shopping and eating out.

The resource contains a number of sustainability messages including reducing food waste and eating less meat. The resource is due for public launch in January 2022, and we will increase the sustainability messaging as it develops.

The Scottish Government funds a number of schemes that support children and adults to learn about growing their own food. In 2022 this will include Dandelion (part of Unboxed, a celebration of creativity taking place across the UK in 2022), a Scotland-wide initiative aiming to make ‘grow your own’ easy and accessible to people of all ages across Scotland. As part of this, 100,000 children and young people will be invited to participate in the Dandelion School Growing Initiative, aiming to engage the next generation of growers.

In addition, the Royal Highland Education Trust have, since 2012, run a programme in schools to help ensure children can explore where food comes from and Education Scotland’s Food for Thought Education Fund (now in its eighth year) gives financial support to schools to enhance food education that children and young people already receive through Curriculum for Excellence. Focusing on all aspects of food and drink, skills such as growing, harvesting and cooking food can be developed along with learning about the environmental impact of our food choices. Schools are also involved in the Community Climate Asset Fund, where over £3 million of Scottish Government funding was provided to community groups to promote a range of measures including food growing.

The Children’s Parliament call to action suggests the creation of a national week to raise awareness of the emissions associated with different diets. Scotland’s Climate Week is a week-long programme of events and initiatives organised by businesses, organisations and communities across the country to celebrate Scotland’s actions on Climate Change. In recent years themes have included diet alongside energy and transport. We encourage everyone to think about how they could use Climate Week to run their own events focussed on the climate issues they are most passionate about.

Photo Michael Matheson MSP at Bantaskin Primary School © the Scottish Government.

Photo of Michael Matheson MSP at Bantaskin Primary School

Recommendation 40: Education Programmes

Include carbon emissions and reduction topics in all relevant education programmes.

Children’s Parliament: Make sure children and young people have information about the climate emergency in Scotland.

Children’s Parliament: Make sure all children and adults learn about climate change. This would involve hearing from experts in climate change and helping children and adults learn green skills that will help tackle the climate emergency like: How to grow food and compost; How to recycle properly; How to repair and mend things; How to have a climate friendly diet; How to plant trees and protect wildlife.

 

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports the Assembly’s recommendation that carbon emissions and reduction topics should be included in all relevant education programmes.

 

Learning for Sustainability is an approach to life and learning which enables learners, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society. In light of the campaigns by groups such as Teach the Future, the various school-related recommendations from the Climate Assembly and the strong focus on climate education at COP26, the Scottish Government is currently working to update and strengthen its Learning for Sustainability Action Plan. This plan sets out how we will help to support Learning for Sustainability as a cross-curricular and cross-age group concept in schools, and ELC settings.

We commit to ensure that the content of this strengthened plan takes full account of, and responds to, the Climate Assembly Recommendation for Education Programmes as well as the Children’s Parliament calls to action to “make sure children and young people have information about the climate emergency in Scotland” and to “make sure all children and adults learn about climate change”. The details of the strengthened plan will be developed in partnership with stakeholders, but its key themes will likely focus on whole school approaches, a stronger focus on climate education as part of the broader Learning for Sustainability concept and on supporting children and young people’s voice. An entitlement to Learning for Sustainability is already embedded in Scotland’s curriculum and the Scottish Government continues to work with partners across the education system to promote and implement our Learning for Sustainability Action Plan.

As to broader education, alluded to in the Children’s Parliament calls to action, to ensure that wider society including adults learn about climate change, the Scottish Government is developing the plans for implementing our Net Zero Nation Public Engagement Strategy. This Public Engagement Strategy sets out our vision: for all of Scotland to understand the challenges we face and embrace their role in our transition to a net zero and climate ready Scotland. The Scottish Government will incorporate the Climate Assembly’s and the Children’s Parliament calls to action when developing these plans. This will be in addition to: current efforts including through the Scottish Government’s national marketing campaign, Let’s Do Net Zero; our new website, NetZeroNation.Scot (which is a one-stop shop for individuals, communities, and organisations looking for information about what they can do to address the climate emergency in all aspects of their life); and work to support community-led climate action.

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

“The recommendations made it really clear how important it is to teach our young people about the climate emergency. I’m proud that the government is responding to this by revising our programmes to give them the skills they will need.”


Recommendation 41: Employment Training Campaigns

Run a public information campaign about training opportunities, in order to attract people into greener industries, including targeted information for people currently working in ‘brown’ sectors such as oil and gas and in sectors that are dependent on oil and gas.

Children’s Parliament: Make sure all children and adults learn about climate change. This would involve hearing from experts in climate change and helping children and adults learn green skills that will help tackle the climate emergency like: How to grow food and compost; How to recycle properly; How to repair and mend things; How to have a climate friendly diet; How to plant trees and protect wildlife.

 

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports the Assembly’s desire to increase the attraction for people to work in greener industries including those currently working in, or dependent on, oil and gas sectors.

 

As part of a national mission to create new jobs, good jobs and green jobs, the Scottish Government will continue to ensure that our workforce has the skills required to support Scotland’s transition, and seize the opportunities presented by the transition. The Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP), published at the end of 2020, is central to achieving this aim. The principles of a just transition have been embedded throughout the development of the CESAP and will be at the heart of its implementation. Going forward, we will work closely with sectors to ensure that the interventions meet the needs of both the people and places who will be affected by the jobs and skills implications of the transition in that sector.

Following the recommendations from Scotland’s Climate Assembly and the Just Transition Commission, an Implementation Steering Group has been established to drive activity and to develop an Implementation Plan to set out a route map for skills provision. Part of this includes working with Skills Development Scotland and partners to design the Green Jobs Workforce Academy which will be a national long term programme to support the retraining and upskilling needed for the transition to net zero. We will ensure that this work considers promotion and outreach of this scheme, as well as other related programmes, to increase the number of skilled individuals in green jobs as well as to increase attraction to green roles. We will also develop a skills guarantee for those in carbon intensive sectors as part of this work.

We are also working with the Energy Skills Alliance (ESA) which is a cross energy collaborative group. It was established to develop an integrated skills strategy for a vibrant net zero energy industry. Further information on the work of ESA can be found online.

We recognise that the energy transition will require the creation of a more flexible, agile and diverse energy workforce. Through our Energy Transition Fund, we are also supporting the development of the National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA) which will play a critical role in ensuring the industry has access to the key skills and capabilities required.

As part of a refreshed Scottish Energy Strategy, we will also deliver our first Just Transition Plan. This will set out how the economic and social impacts of the transition will be managed. It will have co-design at its heart, meaning those who stand to be most impacted by the transition to net zero are given the loudest voice in determining their future.


Recommendation 42: Education on Sustainable Transport

Provide education for all to support the transition from car use to public and active transport so people recognise the climate impacts and change behaviours willingly.

 

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports this recommendation, recognising the importance of education to encourage a shift towards more sustainable modes of transport.

 

We will continue to promote public and active transport in Scotland. Our public information campaign, Net Zero Nation, launched in June 2021, includes a wealth of information about the benefits of active travel and public transport, and how to transition from car use. The site aims to help the public to play their part in tackling the global climate emergency, provides resources for community action, and is a hub for Scotland’s collective response to the climate emergency.

In August 2021, we published our updated School Transport guidance which placed increased emphasis on promoting greener and healthier travel choices. The guidance set out advice to local authorities given their statutory responsibility for providing school transport.

Topics included:

  • Increased focus on active travel, such as through greater use and access to safer walking routes, increased use of cycling, public transport and car sharing to reduce the environmental impact of travel to school.
  • Promotion of the Eco-Schools Scotland programme.
  • Highlighting clean air legislation and other local/national initiatives.
  • Emphasising the importance of moving to the use of zero emission vehicles.

We have committed to produce a route-map that will set out how we will reduce car kilometres driven in Scotland by 20% by 2030. As the route-map develops, we will consider interventions that will help people to reduce car use. We have already begun engagement with young people and pupils – such as the ‘Greener Transport Future’ primary school competition we ran recently alongside COP26. We were delighted to involve the child investigators from the Assembly’s work with Children’s Parliament, and will look to build on that as we move forward.


Recommendation 43: Local Living and Four Day Week

Raise public awareness on the value that can be achieved for climate change by embracing localised living and a 4-day, or reduced, working week.

 

Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports the recommendation to raise public awareness on localised living and a reduced working week.

 

We recognise the environmental, health and well-being benefits and efficiency gains that a four-day working week could bring, and are working with local government to develop 20 minute neighbourhoods. Through a £10 million pilot scheme, we will support employers to explore the benefits of moving to a four-day working week. To develop this pilot, we have been engaging with a wide variety of organisations including businesses, trade unions, think-tanks, academics, campaign groups, voluntary organisations and other governments who have piloted, or are considering piloting, these approaches. This work is helping to raise awareness of a shorter working week and its benefits.

In our 2021-22 Programme for Government, and as mentioned earlier, we have committed to revitalising local communities through the development of 20 minute neighbourhoods, bringing together a number of policies and investments that are already Scottish Government priorities. This includes investment in town centres and a new focus on ‘place’, which will aid our ambition to ‘live well locally’. Implementing localised living will cut across themes of active travel, regeneration, local working and access to greenspace and local services. Raising public awareness will form an essential part achieving this ambition.

Rethinking how our places are lived in, planned, delivered and adapted will help to futureproof our villages, towns, cities and regions from the more extreme and costly impacts of climate change. We will work with local government and other key stakeholders to take forward our ambitions for 20 minute neighbourhoods through investment programmes, planning reform, policy development and delivery, a place and digital strategy, and with hands on support for communities. Place Demonstrators are included in a number of programmes across Government, designed to address a range of policy areas e.g. Climate Action, Community Wealth, Public Health, and Work Local. As part of the Place Based Investment Programme we now have funding available to support place, town centre and 20 minute neighbourhood demonstrator projects and are working with partners to support pathfinders. In addition, Architecture and Design Scotland’s Climate Action Towns programme, will test, develop and promote effective place-based investment, approaches and partnerships that deliver benefits across multiple policy areas. Such activities will promote good practice, facilitate conversations, and offer resources and a route-map for other places to pursue their own climate change goals.

The draft NPF4 sets out how our approach to planning and development will help achieve a net zero, sustainable Scotland by 2045. It promotes local liveability through 20 minute neighbourhoods, reducing the need to travel, and an infrastructure-first approach by directing development to existing city, town and neighbourhood centres and supporting sustainable rural communities. As highlighted in earlier recommendations, we welcome comments on this draft and further information is available from www.transformingplanning.scot.

For sustained longer-term renewal for our cities, towns and villages, we have established a Place Based Investment Programme backed by £325 million over five years. The Programme will ensure that investments in a place are relevant to that place and for the benefit of all the people in that place, and effectively progress our 20 minute neighbourhood ambitions. We have also established a Place Implementation Working Group which brings together key areas of government to facilitate more effective collaborative working on place and connected policy areas such as regeneration, planning, active travel and 20 minute neighbourhoods along with key external stakeholders.