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Climate Change People’s Panel

Scottish government ‘must do more’ to engage the public on climate change and Scotland’s climate change targets
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
The Scottish Parliament, Scotland, UK

The Scottish government is not doing enough to engage the public on climate change and Scotland’s climate change targets.

This is the collective view expressed in a report published today by 23 members of the public, selected at random from across Scotland, who recently came together at Holyrood to form a ‘Climate Change People’s Panel’.

Scotland’s climate change strategy

The panel was set up to support Holyrood’s Net Zero, Energy & Transport Committee in its post-legislative scrutiny of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

The Act mandates that the Scottish government should produce and periodically review a public engagement strategy for climate change.

The panel’s report concludes that the government has not communicated effectively with the public on climate change, saying that it ‘could be more ambitious, delivering a positive narrative and enabling Scotland to set a standard of excellence.’

An ‘action gap’ in Scotland

The panel also considered that ‘collaboration with expert local and community-led organisations is key’ and that there is an ‘inconsistency in communication, education, evaluation, the allocation of funding and ultimately, that there is an action gap across Scotland.’

The report outlines 18 recommendations which panellists will formally present to the Committee during a broadcast evidence session on Tuesday 16 April 2024. 

‘This has been a fantastic experience but at the heart of it all is the most serious topic. We felt that there needs to be more truth and honesty from the Scottish government about the scale of the challenge, and that creating a more compelling vision of the better world we’re all aiming for would help.

‘We hope the Committee will accept our recommendations as positive, concrete actions that must be taken forward and that our efforts will make a positive difference to national engagement on climate issues.’

Panellist; an analyst programmer living in Paisley

Recommendations from the panel

In the report, panellists unanimously recommend that climate change should exist as a compulsory subject within the primary to high school curriculum, and that children should be involved in its development as a subject.

They call for robust, timely and longer term funding (minimum three to five years) to be provided to help expand and adequately resource climate hubs. 

The panellists agreed there needs to be a legal obligation on all local authorities to co-create local climate policy, supported by funding from the Scottish government.

‘This report identifies the need for the Scottish Government to lead from the front to bring governments, business, and the public together in a mutual understanding of the shared challenge we all face and the actions that need to be taken to effect change.

‘Just last month the Climate Change Committee said that Scotland’s 2030 climate goals are no longer credible. Collaboration on all levels of society will be essential to help drive action forward. 

‘We look forward to taking evidence from the panellists during next week’s committee meeting and exploring their findings further with them.’

Convener of the Net Zero, Energy & Transport Committee

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