Climate change communication and education



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1. Context

2. Climate change education and training in the country

3. Climate change communication in the country

4. Monitoring and evaluation


  1. Context

i. Climate change context

Scotland is one of the countries that, along with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, form the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Scotland is represented by the United Kingdom (UK) Government. However, it has its own democratically electable and accountable government with significant devolved aspects of authority. The UK Government is generally responsible for implementing and fulfilling Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s international climate commitments. Devolved governments (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) also take responsibility for these commitments with their own national targets.

Evidence for the Third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (2023) included climate change risks specific to Scotland. Among these, those requiring urgent action are flooding and coastal erosion; extreme temperatures; high winds; rising sea levels; and the range, quantities, and consequences of pests, pathogens, and invasive species. The impacts of these risks on infrastructure services lead to more pronounced effects among the population.

The Global Carbon Atlas has stated that the UK is a high-emitting country, with emissions of 5.2 tCO2 per person, while the world average in 2021 was 4.7 tCO2 per person. As stated in the 8th National Communication (2022), which includes the Fifth Biennial Report, the UK was sourcing 43% of its total production of CO2 from primary oil, 30% from natural gas, 15% from primary electricity, 10% from other renewable sources, and 1% from coal in 2020.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an Annex I country to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). It signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified it in 2022. The country accepted the Doha Amendment in 2017 and signed and ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016.

Scotland declared a climate emergency on 28 April 2019; then, on 25 September 2019, the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act came into force, amending the Climate Change Act (Scotland) of 2009. This law aims for net zero emissions by 2045. Thus, Scotland set a target date for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045, separate from the UK’s net zero target of 2050.

ii. Relevant government agencies 

Climate change

The UK Government holds the ultimate responsibility for implementing and fulfilling the UK’s climate commitments under the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. The UK Government‘s affiliated Department for Energy Security & Net Zero houses the UNFCCC Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point.

The UK’s Climate Change Committee is an independent organization established under the Climate Change Act (2008).The Climate Change Committee consists of two committees: 1) the Climate Change Committee, which provides advice on emission targets for the UK and devolved governments and 2) the Adaptation Committee, which reports to Parliament on progress made in preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Scotland’s climate change legislation has assigned a statutory role to the Climate Change Committee, which provides regular advice, including an annual Scottish progress report on reducing emissions, recommendations on emissions reduction targets, and periodic independent assessments of Scotland’s adaptation programs.

The Scottish Government functions as the devolved administration for Scotland, encompassing a diverse range of responsibilities, including the economy, education, and environment. The Scottish Cabinet is the primary decision-making entity of the Scottish Government. The Cabinet comprises the first minister, cabinet secretaries, the minister for Parliamentary Business, and the permanent secretary. Ministers support the work of the cabinet secretaries. The Secretary of State for Scotland, who is part of the UK government, is the custodian of the Scottish devolution settlement and represents Scottish interests within the UK Government.

The cabinet secretary for Transport, Net Zero, and Just Transition is responsible for issues related to the climate crisis and environmental protection, sustainable development, and environmental and climate justice. The work of the cabinet secretary is supported by the relevant ministers: the minister for Transport; minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity; minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights; and minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism, and Trade.

Directorates and relevant public bodies are responsible for implementing policies designed by the Scottish Government. The Energy and Climate Change Directorate coordinates the Scottish Government’s local and international responses to the climate emergency. The Directorate works toward sustainable economic development and promotes climate-change, clean-energy, and energy-efficiency programs internationally. It also conducts local awareness campaigns for individuals, businesses, and communities.

The Just Transition Commission, an independent advisory body, began its work in 2019. The role of the Commission is to support the production and monitoring of plans for a fair transition to a low-carbon economy and to provide expert advice on development processes. In 2021, the Commission published a report of its assessments of and recommendations for a just transition. In December 2021, the renewed Commission started working on implementation and on the preparation of further advice to shape the Scottish Government‘s just-transition plans.

The Scotland Climate Assembly is an independent body established under the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019). The Assembly operates separately from the Scottish Government and brings together over 100 individuals aged 16 and above, representing the Scottish population. Children’s Parliament members also extended invitations to facilitate the active engagement of younger children throughout Scotland, guaranteeing that their perspectives, encounters, and suggestions were pivotal in shaping future discussions and recommendations. The Assembly discusses information provided by experts and generates recommendations to support the decision-making process. The Assembly published its recommendations in June 2021, with a response from the Scottish Government published in December 2021. Following the conclusion of the Assembly process, an independent research report was published in March 2022 on the process, its impact, and Assembly members’ experience.

The Global Climate Emergency (GCE) Programme and Board were established in autumn 2019 to coordinate and facilitate the short-term response to the declaration of a global climate emergency by the then first ministe. rIn 2023, the Programme was refreshed and renamed the Climate Change Programme. The Board’s key initial aim was to pivot the organization onto a trajectory whereby it could deliver on the ambitious targets outlined in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act of 2019. The director-general for Net Zero chairs the Board, and the senior responsible owner is the Energy and Climate Change Directorate. The GCE Board reports to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on the Climate Emergency, with periodic updates to the executive team of the Scottish Government. In October 2021, the first minister approved the creation of the sub-committee, to be chaired by the deputy first minister and steered by the cabinet secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition. The other members of the Sub-Committee are the cabinet secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy; the cabinet secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands; the minister for Transport; the minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity; the minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights; the minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade; the minister for Energy and Environment; and the minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning.

The Scottish Government funds Zero Waste Scotland, an environmental organization that aims to provide evidence-based contributions to policy processes and raise awareness among individuals and businesses about the circular economy’s ecological, economic, and social benefits.

The Scottish Government’s Resilience Division is Scotland’s lead agency for emergency planning, response, and recovery. The Division operates Scottish Government Resilience Room meetings to ensure coordinated efforts by the Scottish Government, ministers, and relevant agencies during emergencies. Additionally, it carries out strategies and provides guidance and work programs to enhance the services provided by relevant agencies during emergencies.

Scotland keeps a focus on ensuring gender equality in climate crisis decision-making processes. The Scottish Government announced its partnership with the Women’s Environment & Development Organization on International Women’s Day in 2021. Female leaders from least-developed countries were to receive education, networking, and travel support through the Women Delegates Fund, enabling them to serve as national delegates in climate change negotiations.

The Under2Coalition is a global alliance of state and regional governments that have come together to achieve net zero by 2050. As a coalition member, Scotland is also one of the five co-chairs responsible for shaping the coalition’s policies. As of 2023, the coalition represented 173 separate states, regions, provinces, and sub-national governments, along with numerous national and sub-national organizations.

Education and communication

The overall responsibility for Scottish education lies with the cabinet secretary for Education and Skills. The cabinet secretary is responsible for education strategy and performance; Curriculum for Excellence development; and school standards, quality, and improvement. The work of the cabinet secretary is supported by relevant ministers: the minister for children, young people and keeping the promise and the minister for Higher and Further Education. The minister is responsible for higher education, universities, and further education and colleges. Their responsibilities include adult education and non-advanced vocational skills across different areas.

The implementation of education policies designed by the cabinet secretary and relevant ministers involves the participation of directorates and public bodies. The Early Learning and Childcare Directorate provides access to quality early learning and child-care services for young children. The Education Reform Directorate develops the necessary curriculum and qualifications to ensure the Scottish education system can adapt to changes. The Lifelong Learning and Skills Directorate is responsible for initiatives related to the post-school education and skills sector. Lastly, the Learning Directorate collaborates with teachers to promote excellence by raising attainment and improving outcomes, as well as enhancing school infrastructure to achieve equity.

Education Scotland is an executive agency that works to strengthen the Scottish education system. The Education Scotland Framework Document defines the agency’s operating framework. The chief executive of Education Scotland is accountable to Scottish ministers. The agency provides recommendations to the Scottish Government on matters related to education and works to enhance curriculum capacity. It collaborates with local authorities under the Scottish Attainment Challenge to support disadvantaged schools. The Challenge is an initiative launched by the first minister in 2015, specifically focusing on closing the achievement gap, which is mainly related to poverty. The Challenge offers specific and targeted efforts to enhance literacy, numeracy, and health and well-being throughout Scotland.

Skills Development Scotland is the national skills agency that supports citizens and businesses in improving and applying their skills. The institution assists individuals in career management and the development of job-related and employability skills. It also works with employers and employer groups to identify skill needs and take action accordingly.

iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans 

Climate change

The National Performance Framework, set in 2007, outlines Scotland’s overall purpose and vision. Within this framework, the aim is to achieve the National Outcomes developed and published by the ministers. Progress toward the Outcomes is highlighted through regular reports. Additionally, a reassessment of the Outcomes takes place every five years. In 2023, Scotland was reviewing the Outcomes. Scotland has integrated the Sustainable Development Goals with the National Outcomes, localizing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and centralizing its position within Scottish policies.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009) was enacted to mitigate climate change and ensure adaptation to its effects. The Act established a framework for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland and required that the Scottish ministers set annual targets. It also identifies the responsibilities of Scottish public bodies in combatting climate change and in establishing a Scottish Committee on Climate Change. The law does not state when the Committee would be established; however, the schedule appended to the law offers additional details about the Committee.

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019) revised the Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009). The amendments raised Scotland’s emissions reduction targets to net zero by 2045, which had previously set as net zero by 2050 in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009). Additionally, the Act replaces requirements in relation to reports on proposals and policies with a new requirement to develop a climate change plan every five years and with the requirement of assessing the progress towards the emissions reduction targets. The changes updated the Climate Change Act to align with the new targets and introduced new measures, including establishing a citizens’ assembly. The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019), framed as a direct response to the Paris Agreement, established enforceable yearly goals. Its interim target for 2030 is a 75% reduction, surpassing the global requirements outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prevent warming beyond 1.5 degrees.

Scotland’s Contribution to the Paris Agreement – An Indicative NDC (2021) aligns with the domestic legal framework outlined in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009), and amended in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019).

The Scottish Government committed to revising the Climate Change Plan (2018) to align with the newly established targets under the updated law. However, due to economic challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic, the revision process, initially set to be completed within six months, was postponed. On 29 April 29 2020, the cabinet secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform announced that the update to the Climate Change Plan would be redesigned to “inform thinking on green recovery.” Accordingly, the Climate Change Plan update, Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018-2032: Securing a Green Recovery on a Path to Net Zero, was published in December 2020.

The Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change, and Land Reform Committee; Economy, Energy, and Fair Work Committee; Local Government and Communities Committee; and Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee reviewed the effectiveness of the Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018-2032: Securing a Green Recovery on a Path to Net Zero by examining the proposals and actions across all sectors. The draft plan underwent a comprehensive assessment in 2021, and the report was completed in March 2021. The Scottish Government reports to the Scottish Parliament each year on the progress of implementing the Plan. The monitoring framework used for this reporting is a fundamental process component and noted a strong level of support across society for emissions reductions.

The Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018-2032: Securing a Green Recovery on a Path to Net Zero is a significant document, containing over 200 policies and proposals spanning various sectors. It emphasizes the need for a well-coordinated approach to achieve its goals. The Plan envisions that by 2045, Scotland will focus on responsible production, responsible consumption, and maximizing value from waste and energy in its cultural, social, and business practices.

As sector reports have indicated, delivery plans have further developed many of these policies and proposals, including strategies like the Heat in Buildings Strategy, a road map to reduce car travel by 20% by 2030; the Vision for Agriculture, accompanied by consultation on a new Agriculture Bill; and the National Test Programme, which aims to make Scotland a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. Additionally, Scotland has published a revised National Planning Framework 4, a Joint Budget Review, a draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, and a Biodiversity Strategy to support its climate and environmental efforts.

Making Things Last: A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland (2016) was the first strategy that the Scottish Government prepared for transitioning to a circular economy. The Strategy sets out priorities for Scotland’s transition to a circular economy that align with zero-waste and resource-efficiency agendas. The Strategy prioritizes four areas: food and drink and the broader bio-economy, remanufacture, construction and the built environment, and energy infrastructure. Additionally, efforts have been planned to encourage the inclusion of circular-economy principles in the curriculum. Zero Waste Scotland and Education Scotland are to bring together practitioners from different expertise areas to develop resources and materials for use in classrooms and online. In compliance with Rule 9.3.3 of the Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament, a policy memorandum was released alongside the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill (2023). The memorandum was presented in the Scottish Parliament on 13 June 2023, providing additional information on the significant policy areas covered by the legislation. The aim of the Bill is to help Scotland become a zero-waste society by passing legislation to increase recycling, improve waste services, and encourage reusing. The Bill covers areas like recycling goals, rules about throwing away unsold items, charges for single-use items, dealing with household waste, and stopping littering from vehicles. It also would allow authorities to check vehicles and report on waste and surpluses. At the time of this review, the Bill was in the first stage of the process in becoming law.

The Climate Ready Scotland: Second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024 (2019) was a second five-year program that outlines Scotland’s adaptation efforts for the impacts of the climate crisis. The program presents seven outcomes based on the Sustainable Development Goals and National Performance Framework and provides a road map for implementing these outcomes.

The Scotland Environment Strategy (2020) established the main structure for the Scottish Government’s strategies and initiatives related to the environment and climate change. It presented a vision for 2045, focusing on revitalizing Scotland’s natural environment and contributing significantly to addressing the worldwide climate and biodiversity challenges. The vision and outcomes align with the National Outcomes set forth in the National Performance Framework and with the Sustainable Development Goals. A monitoring framework to track the progress of the Strategy’s implementation was published in October 2022. The Environment Strategy Monitoring Framework is based on data-driven indicators, and the status and progress of the indicators established can be tracked on the website.

On 1 June 1 2020, the Scottish Government, the United Kingdom Government, the Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland Executive announced plans to form the UK Emissions Trading Scheme starting in January 2021. In January 2023, the UK Government received the report Mission Zero: Independent Review of Net Zero. The report stressed that going net zero could be a significant economic opportunity and that businesses need clear, long-term policies to invest in it. The report also said that the Emissions Trading Scheme should be more prominent in building a robust and eco-friendly economy up to 2050 and beyond.

In its five-year Infrastructure Investment Plan published in February 2021, the Scottish Government revised the definition of infrastructure to include natural assets. This change allowed for a more comprehensive approach to Scotland’s infrastructure assets, recognizing the broader role that natural capital can play. Scotland has demonstrated leadership by leading the Edinburgh Process and issuing the Edinburgh Declaration, advocating for increased global and local initiatives to protect biodiversity.

The Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener, published by the UK Government in 2021, outlines the road map and commitments for decarbonizing all sectors in the United Kingdom by 2050, in alignment with the net zero target. It also presents supportive initiatives such as creating a skilled workforce, supporting innovation, and engaging local actors in facilitating the transition. Policy actions undertaken by the Scottish Government in collaboration with the UK Government are also presented.

The Programme for Government (2022), prepared by the Scottish Government, outlines the country’s annual policies, legislative processes, and road map. The A Stronger & More Resilient Scotland: The Programme for Government 2022-23 includes comprehensive planning for education and the climate crisis. The Programme provides information on proposed legislation, planned intervention programs, and investments to be made during the ensuing year.

In March 2023, the UK Government released several documents, including the Powering Up Britain: Energy Security Plan and the Powering Up Britain: The Net Zero Growth Plan, that explain how energy will become more secure and how the net zero targets will be met. At the time of this review, the United Kingdom Government was committed to creating a long-term plan for the UK Emissions Trading Scheme by the end of 2023. This plan would guide how the UK works toward cleaner energy and a healthier environment.

Education and communication

The Education (Scotland) Act (1980) determines education provision by education authorities while also outlining the functions of these authorities in the Scottish education system. The Standards in Scotland’s Schools Etc. Act (2000) pertains to the delivery of school education, particularly children’s rights and the responsibilities of the education authority.

The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations (2013) impose obligations on all Scottish local authorities to ensure and coordinate the delivery of community learning and development within their region.

The Curriculum for Excellence (2004) is the national curriculum for students aged 3 to 18 in Scotland’s education system. In 2019, a resource was prepared to reexamine the Curriculum for Excellence and align it with current context, aiming to help teachers and professional practitioners embrace the core principles of the curriculum and support its purposeful implementation.The Curriculum for Excellence identifies four essential purposes for students: to become focused learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors. The curriculum comprises eight areas across five general education levels: 1) Expressive Arts, 2) Health and Wellbeing, 3) Languages, 4) Mathematics, 5) Religious and Moral Education, 6) Sciences, 7) Social Studies, and 8) Technologies. Education Scotland oversees the implementation of the curriculum.

The education sector plan, Corporate Plan 2021-2025 (2021), defined six priorities for Scotland’s education sector based on stakeholders’ input: 1) System Leadership; 2) Curriculum; 3) Learning, Teaching and Assessment; 4) Inclusion, Wellbeing, Equity and Equalities; 5) Best Use of Evidence; and 6) Culture, Values, and Behaviour. Targeted outcomes accompany each priority, along with an explanation of how they are to be monitored and evaluated. Education Scotland updated the 2021 Corporate Plan in the context of planned education reform, and then published the Corporate Plan 2022-2024. The revised Corporate Plan focuses on the updated priorities and introduces a new priority centred on the reform agenda, Transition to New Organizations.

The Scottish Government published Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (2021), a framework to involve the public in achieving the net zero target by 2045. The Strategy revolves around three core principles: 1) enhancing public understanding of the Government’s climate change efforts and their relevance, 2) facilitating public participation in just and fair policies, and 3) encouraging individuals to take action. The Strategy list activities and initiatives to achieve the three objectives.

Learning for Sustainability is emphasized as an interdisciplinary theme across the domains defined in the Curriculum for Excellence. The aim of “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023- 2030 (2023) was to integrate sustainable learning settings into curriculum, culture, community, and campus contexts within the Scottish education system by 2030. Five main themes align with this goal: 1) Leadership and Collaborative Partnership; 2) Curriculum, Learning, Teaching, and Assessment; 3) Learning Environment and Resources; 4) Learner Voice and Choice;, and 5) Action, Meaning, and Understanding. A total of 25 actions have been planned within these themes. The Action Plan also includes aligning and implementing the steps to Learning for Sustainability with a wide range of broader policies such as those regarding climate change and children’s rights.

iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication

Scotland has aligned its vision, National Outcomes, with the Sustainable Development Goals, which has enabled the use of the Goal in planning for all sectors, including education. The Corporate Plan 2021-2025 (2021) states that the priorities in education are intended to contribute to the National Outcomes and, consequently, the Sustainable Development Goalss.

With “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023- 2030 (2023), Scotland aims to incorporate Learning for Sustainability into education processes by 2030. In the Action Plan, Scotland’s approach to Learning for Sustainability is explained as follows:

“The term ‘Learning for Sustainability,’ coined in Scotland, is now gaining traction in other countries as a cross-curricular approach which enables learners, educators, learning settings and their wider community to build a socially just, sustainable and equitable society; and as an effective whole-setting approach which weaves together global citizenship, sustainable development and outdoor learning to create coherent, rewarding and transformative learning experiences.”

– “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023- 2030, p. 5

The embedding of the Learning for Sustainability approach in the Scottish education system is highlighted among the priorities listed in the Corporate Plan 2021-2025 (2021). Additionally, it is emphasized that the Learning for Sustainability approach is one of the significant components of the planned education reform of the Scottish education system.

The foundational document that defines Scotland’s climate change communication, the Public Engagement Strategy, describes ‘public engagement’ as an intertwined process of understanding, participating, and taking action. The Strategy explains the public- engagement approach as follows:

“Our approach to public engagement therefore focuses on connecting people with what is happening in the transition to net zero. We aim to promote meaningful engagement with people’s values, identities, and concerns to facilitate a society-wide response to the climate emergency. This includes effectively communicating climate change to increase awareness and understanding of how Scotland, collectively, is addressing the climate emergency and the implications for individuals and communities.”

– Public Engagement Strategy, p. 13

v. Budget for climate change education and communication

Every year, the Scottish Government releases a budget that outlines the expenditure plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The annual Scottish Budget covers each financial cycle from April 1st to March 31st. The Scottish Budget for 2023 to 2024 was set at US$75.7 million (GBP 59.7 million). One of the three main priorities of the budget program is to facilitate the transition to a net zero economy.

Regarding budget distribution across policy areas, US$5.8 billion (GDP 4,6 billion) was allocated for Net Zero, Energy, and Transport. This corresponds to approximately 7.7% of the budget. For the Education and Skills portfolio, US$ 5.3 billion (GBP 4.2 billion) in expenditure, or 7.0% of the budget, was provided. Each portfolio assists Scottish ministers in achieving the Program for Government‘s objectives and the National Outcomes defined in the National Performance Framework for Scotland.

The Scottish Government noted in its 5th session of 2021 that all cabinet ministers also serve as climate change ministers. During budget reviews, they are requested to examine how proposed expenditures in their respective areas, as suggested by relevant committees, consider climate change issues and contribute to helping the Scottish Government achieve the goals set out in the relevant legislation.

Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener outlined actions planned by the Scottish Government that align with Scotland’s net zero target by 2045. These actions were intended to create green jobs, impart new skills to those in need, and provide a career platform for future generations. Accordingly, the Scottish Government was to establish a US$ 124.5 million (GBP 100 million) Green Jobs Fund to assist businesses in generating innovative and green employment opportunities. This funding would be utilized for investments in machinery, equipment, and research and development. Additionally, a National Transition Training Fund would be established, allocating a budget of US$ 31.7 million (GDP 25 million) for providing green skills, delivering the Youth Guarantee for those aged 16 to 24, and utilizing public procurement to create low-carbon supply chains.

The Climate Challenge Fund supports communities in Scotland in taking action on climate change and provides funding to projects that focus on enhancing climate literacy and addressing climate change with communities. From 2008 to 2022, the Fund provided over US$ 139.5 million (GDP 110 million) to support more than 1,150 projects. Keep Scotland Beautiful, which manages the Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. is an environmental charity that advocates for and provides education on various environmental matters, such as climate change and reducing litter. In 2019, ClimateXChange reviewed the Fund’s effectiveness and assessed how to continue supporting communities. The findings were addressed in A series of interim policy notes.

In July 2023, the Scottish Government initiated the Climate Engagement Fund. The Fund aims to foster an understanding of the climate emergency among communities in Scotland and provide support for climate engagement activities. The Fund was to provide funding ranging from US$ 63,000 to US$ 126,000 (GBP 50,000 to GBP 100,000) to eligible local and national projects. Organizations that qualified for the Fund, which had a total value of US$ 700,000 (GBP 550,000), were to commence their work in September 2023.

The Scottish Government recognizes that community-led climate action is crucial for the net zero transition. A network of regional Community Climate Action Hubs was to facilitate community engagement and to develop different approaches based on local conditions and priorities between 2023 and 2024. These hubs would work on creating local action plans, on helping local groups access funding opportunities, and on developing a joined-up approach. The hub network was to expand across Scotland, with US$ 5.4 million (GBP 4.3 million) in funding from 2023 to 2024. Community groups could apply to establish and lead a climate action hub in their respective areas.

  1. Climate change education and training in the country

i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education 

The devolved Scottish Government is responsible for providing education services in Scotland. Scotland’s local authorities are responsible for delivering compulsory-education, early-learning, and child-care services in their respective regions. Compulsory education in Scotland starts for children in the first year of primary school and concludes in the sixth year of secondary school. State education is free for children aged 5–19. The executive agency Education Scotland supervises and oversees the implementation of education policies.

The experiences and outcomes document (2017) presents expectations for learning and progression for each of the eight curriculum areas defined within the scope of the Curriculum for Excellence, including achievements such as “expressing opinions and making decisions on social, moral, ethical, economic, and environmental issues” (p. 253), “developing scientific values and respect for living organisms and the environment” (p. 257), and “developing informed social, moral, and ethical perspectives on scientific, economic, and environmental issues” (p. 257).

According to Education Scotland, subjects like Sciences, Technologies, Social Studies, Health and Well-Being, and Religious and Moral Education offer diverse chances to teach about climate change, renewable energy, and sustainable development, including ethical principles related to environmental responsibility. These topics are prominently integrated into several aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence, which outlines the type of learning experiences and goals expected of children ages 3 to 15. Additionally, teaching about climate change can span across various subjects.

Within the scope of the Curriculum for Excellence, the key considerations, activities, and ways for supporting the curriculum-making process include incorporating Learning for Sustainability into the curriculum, a term thatbrings together sustainable development education, global citizenship and outdoor learning” (p. 22). “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030 (2023) provides a road map for integrating a sustainable learning approach across various components of the education system by 2030. A call to action was to invite all national bodies and local authorities to integrate the Target 2030 commitment into their strategic planning. A National Learning for Sustainability Group was established in November 2022 to implement and monitor the activities outlined in the Group’s action plan in collaboration with Education Scotland. The Scottish Government and Education Scotland were to develop focused actions to integrate the action plan into other programs during education planning. The completion of analysis work for the study was to be completed by the end of 2023.

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership aims to integrate new programs related to Learning for Sustainability that support the development of qualifications that can be included in the Framework’s implementation in the 2023-2024 financial year. Children and Young People Leadership Groups are to be established to ensure meaningful participation of children in the process and in shaping the outputs of “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030 (2023). The initial design and development of the Groups began in April 2023, and the work was to officially start toward the end of 2023. Additionally, best practices nationwide were to be gathered, reviewed, and compiled. Collaboration would be fostered with local authorities vested with authority for education provision in Scotland, promoting their involvement.

The education sector plan, Corporate Plan 2021-2025 (2021), states that education-related planning is aligned with the overall purpose and vision of the Scottish Government, contributing to the National Outcomes. Therefore, the Sustainable Development Goals are considered when formulating education policies. Among the focal areas for the academic year 2021-22 were the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders to integrate “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030 (2023) into educational processes. Over the five-year period, the aim was to provide clear and sustainable progression opportunities for everyone. The updated Corporate Plan 2022-2024 (2022) outlines a comprehensive approach to supporting the implementation of the Target 2030 action plan within the education system. Additionally, the Plan underlines efforts in curriculum design to enhance awareness of inclusivity, sustainability, and well-being.

As this report was being written, a comprehensive education reform program was underway in Scotland. To oversee the reform process, a strategic board and three implementation boards have been put in place. The Education Reform Board, would provide guidance and assistance to the Board’s senior responsible owner, who is accountable for executing all components of the program. The other boards were to be the Inspectorate and Agency Delivery Boards, the Qualifications Body Delivery Board, and the Policy and Legislation Delivery Board. As part of the reform, an evaluation of qualifications and assessments was to be conducted.

Following the reform, a qualifications body was to be established to replace the Scotland Qualifications Authority and Education Scotland. A national agency for Scottish education was to be formed and an independent inspection board created. Within the scope of the reform, a national discussion has been ongoing. An analysis of consultations involving various stakeholders was conducted, and the final report of the National Discussion on Education was published in May 2023. These contributions were to develop into a vision for Scottish education, outlining short-, medium-, and long-term objectives.

Keep Scotland Beautiful, a Scottish charity, has engaged with over 15,000 students through Schools Climate Action Week and introduced the newly rebranded Climate Action Schools framework for educational initiatives. Climate Action Schools emphasizes five key outcomes: 1) Learning for Sustainability, 2) Climate Emergency, 3) Biodiversity, 4) Litter and Pollution, and 5) Amplifying Pupil Voice. The Climate Ready Classrooms program for high schools provides an accredited carbon-literacy training course, delivered in one day, using interactive activities and real-world examples to initiate discussion on climate change. Students who complete this course receive Carbon Literacy accreditation. The Climate Ready Classrooms program for primary schools provides a one-day course for upper primary school students. It includes three workshops and related activities that promote learning about climate change and biodiversity, emphasizing actions. Furthermore, Keep Scotland Beautiful administers Eco-Schools, one of Scotland’s five international programs overseen by the Foundation for Environmental Education.

ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources

The Corporate Plan 2021-2025 (2021) highlighted teacher empowerment. The aim was to achieve teacher empowerment, collaboration, and engagement through professional learning. This goal was reiterated in the updated Corporate Plan 2022-2024 (2022). Neither of the documents contains information about teacher empowerment in the context of the environmental and climate crises.

To become a teacher in Scotland at the primary and secondary levels, people need to earn a four-year undergraduate degree in education or complete a one-year postgraduate course. Newly graduated teachers teach for a year in one of Scotland’s local authorities through the Teacher Induction Scheme. During this period, they engage in teaching duties along with professional development activities and receive mentorship support from experienced teachers. After their first year, teachers become members of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Among the principles for implementing the Curriculum for Excellence is a focus on career-long professional learning. Professional learning is based on foundational standards such as those of the GTCS and the 2015 Standard for Childhood Practice Revised (2016). The inclusion of Learning for Sustainability in the Professional Standards for Teachers for practitioners and Education Scotland’s improvement framework, How Good is Our School?, supports engagement with climate change issues. Climate change and renewable energy also feature extensively in the National Qualifications developed to support the Curriculum for Excellence, for example in Science in the Environment (National 2); Biology (National 3, National 4, National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher); Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies (National 4, National 5, and Higher).

The National Model of Professional Learning (2017) promotes capacity-building and collaboration-focused practices. National organizations and regional improvement collaboratives have provided the content offered within the framework of the model. Among the programs offered to teachers on the Education Scotland website, some focus on the environment and climate crisis. One is Environmental Education in Action, developed in collaboration with the environmental education charity Wild Things. This program aims to provide essential outdoor skills for engaging in outdoor sessions for all ages and abilities. Additionally, the educational content enhances student understanding of ecology, biosciences, climate change, and other environmental topics.

Teaching Scotland’s Future, published in January 2011, identified various areas for enhancing teacher education. Based on this document, the Strategic Board for Teacher Education was established to oversee and evaluate reforms in teacher education. The Teacher Panel, comprising a representative group of teachers, convenes to assess developments in the Scottish education system. The panel meets every three months, and the meeting minutes are shared with the public.

As part of “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023-2030 (2023), which aims to integrate a sustainable learning approach into the education system, planning is also being carried out in the context of professional development. The Action Plan highlights the importance of capacity and support for educators to create sustainable learning settings. To achieve this aim, a mutual mentoring support network was to be established. Additionally, relevant and practical resources were to be created for teachers and published on the Learning for Sustainability Scotland portal by August 2024.

Education Scotland also offers an array of online materials, providing schools with valuable curriculum resources and information related to climate change. These resources encompass various themes, including Early Learning and Childcare (intended to assist early-learning and child-care practitioners in creating outdoor play and learning experiences for children) and Weather and Climate Change (geared toward primary schools), Exploring Climate Change (a website designed for secondary school learners), STEM Central (which features a wide array of resources focusing on sustainability topics within Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, and Mathematics), Central Religious and Moral Education through Outdoor Learning (concerning environmental responsibility), and Community Learning and Development (intended to courage all ages to participate in learning).

Keep Scotland Beautiful conducts Climate Ready Classrooms: Train the Trainer accredited workshops for educators. These workshops aim to equip teachers, head teachers, practitioners, and youth and children’s workers with the knowledge and tools to provide Carbon Literacy training to secondary school students. The program covers the fundamentals of climate change, how to teach it, and what actions can be taken at the societal, individual, and group levels to address climate change.

iii. Climate change in higher education

The Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act (2016) established regulations for the constitution and selection of governing bodies and academic boards within higher education institutions and for the revision of regulations concerning academic freedom. The Act does not make any reference to the environmental and climate crisis.

In Scotland, the responsibility for higher and further education lies with the devolved Scottish Government. Higher education is delivered through universities and colleges, which the Scottish Funding Council funds. Universities Scotland, which represents the 19 autonomous higher education institutions in the country, is an independent national council that works on behalf of the principals and directors of these institutions. The Council formulates policies and campaigns related to higher education. The three-year strategic plan, Universities Scotland Strategy 2021-24 published in 2021, outlined how universities would contribute to a green and inclusive economic recovery. According to the Strategy, enhancing graduate skills and qualifications through a flexible skills policy framework is among the policy priorities to achieve a green and inclusive recovery.

Scottish higher education institutions play a significant role in the advancement of knowledge in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, a centre for research, teaching, policy, and practice dedicated to climate action, is an esteemed centre of excellence within the University of Edinburgh. Under the umbrella of the Institute, the Edinburgh Earth Initiative, the University of Edinburgh‘s response to the climate crisis, operates under four themes: 1) the future of energy; 2) sustainable lands and seas; 3)  health in a warmer world; and 4) socially just transitions. Additionally, students from the communities most affected by climate change receive scholarship opportunities. Within the Institute, ClimateXChange brings together researchers and policymakers to create evidence-based policies for climate readiness and conducts multidisciplinary studies responding to questions and evidence requests from governments and institutions. Through workshops and seminars, ClimateXChange fosters dialogue by bringing experts from different sectors, disciplines, and institutions together.

The Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University conducts evidence-based research to generate knowledge and critical insights into climate change’s societal impacts and climate justice. Utilizing research findings, the Centre provides recommendations for incorporating climate justice into mitigation and adaptation policies and efforts. Additionally, the Centre leads the Master of Science and doctoral programs in Climate Justice.

At the University of Glasgow, the Centre for Sustainable Solutions educates both students and the broader public about climate justice, climate science, and sustainability. The Centre also delivers staff training on the climate crisis. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre ran a series of Green Recovery Dialogues to ensure that Glasgow's recovery from COVID-19 would be sensitive to environmental and social concerns.

Universities in Scotland provide undergraduate and graduate programs related to climate change in various disciplines. For instance, the University of Edinburgh offers programs like Ecological and Environmental Sciences with Management and Sustainable Development at the undergraduate level and Global Environment and Climate Change Law and Outdoor Environment and Sustainability Education at the graduate level. Similarly, the University of Glasgow offers undergraduate and graduate programs like Environment Science & Sustainability, Sustainable Energy, and Environmental Future: Sustainable Systems across different disciplines.

In Scotland, colleges operate under the strategic direction of the cabinet secretary for Education and Skills. Ministerial priorities are communicated through an annual guidance letter, which ensures greater emphasis on university programs that lead to employment. The 2023–24 Letter of Guidance contains the priorities and goals of the Scottish Government, underscoring the need for the work of the Scottish Funding Council to contribute to the net zero target.

The Scottish Funding Council provides funding for colleges. However, colleges must prepare and submit an outcome agreement to the Council to receive this funding. Outcome Agreement Guidance AY 2023-24 (2023) highlighted “Net zero and environmental sustainability response” as one of the priority areas. Institutions were expected to develop organization-wide net zero and sustainability plans by the end of the 2024 academic year, and the priorities established needed to be linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Royal Scottish Geographical Society, the University of Strathclyde Business School, and the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute jointly offer various courses under the Climate Solutions partnership. The aim of the partnership is to provide individuals and organizations with the necessary knowledge about climate change and to cultivate an understanding that can be applied in the business world.

iv. Climate change in training and adult learning 

The Lifelong Learning and Skills Directorate, under the cabinet secretary for Education and Skills and with the support of the minister for Higher and Further Education, shapes education and skills opportunities for citizens and enables their contribution to the economy.

The aim of the Adult Learning Strategy for Scotland 2022-2027 (2022)was to provide community-based adult education through new pathways by offering connected learning opportunities for adults through Scotland’s communities, local authorities, third-sector organizations, colleges, and universities. The Adult Learning Strategic Forum for Scotland was to supervise the implementation and evaluation of the Strategy. The Forum comprises various organizations such as associations, universities, unions, and councils related to adult education, and the members are listed in the appendix to the Strategy. Based on results from working groups, the Forum advises the Scottish Government on adult learning. One of the goals of the Strategy is to create “more opportunities for adult learners to develop knowledge and influence change in areas such as community-led climate change and human rights”

Scottish ministers publish a letter of guidance at the beginning of the business year that determines the strategy of Skills Development Scotland. The 2023 letter reminded Skills Development Scotland of Scotland’s target of net zero by 2045 and requested special consideration of decarbonizing the Scottish economy.

The Green Jobs Workforce Academy website, established by Skills Development Scotland in 2021, aims to create green alternatives for education and careers. The website provides information and recommendations on career management, educational opportunities, and job search that align with the transition to a net zero economy.

Keep Scotland Beautiful has collaborated with private, public, and third-sector partners to create specialized climate emergency training for various industries, including charities, energy, construction, transport, tourism, housing, and local government. This initiative resulted in 988 individuals being accredited as Carbon Literate through a partnership with the Carbon Literacy Project. Additionally, in partnership with Elevator UK, the charity provided workshops and climate training to various businesses and communities across Scotland as part of the Community Renewal Fund. They also worked alongside Green Tourism, with support from Visit Scotland, to deliver a training program aimed at Scotland’s tourism sector.

The Scottish Communities Climate Action Network is a volunteer-based network that encourages community-driven initiatives in Scotland to address climate and nature crises and advance the cause of a just and resilient Scotland. With support from the Scottish Government, the Network has planned to provide facilitator training through the Climate for Change program, enabling local climate conversations. The goal is to foster effective climate action in Scotland through such conversations.

Circular Communities Scotland operates the Share and Repair Network to aid established and emerging sharing libraries and repair cafes. Its mission is to encourage borrowing infrequently used items over buying and to empower individuals with the skills to repair and reuse. The Network provides assistance, a mentoring program, and a support network for interested groups.

  1. Climate change communication in the country

i. Climate change and public awareness 

According to Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Better (2021) published by the UK Government, one planned effort to support the economy’s transition is “Empowering the Public and Business to Make Green Choices.” Within this framework, the UK Government has committed to increasing awareness about net zero and empowering businesses and the public to make green choices. Collaboration with local authorities, voluntary sector organizations, social enterprise regulators, and businesses is mentioned. To achieve this objective, the plan was to create a vision for net zero by 2050 and foster a sense of collective action. For this purpose, the Strategy envisions increasing capacities regarding the net zero target by supporting local net zero projects and disseminating best practices.

Net Zero Nation Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (2021) is a guide prepared by the Scottish Government to ensure public engagement in designing and implementing laws, policies, and strategies related to climate change. The Strategy builds upon three strategic objectives: Understand, Participate, and Act. The document summarizes steps taken to enhance awareness of climate change, to involve the public in decision-making processes, and to encourage all sectors of society to take action on climate change.

One of the three objectives that form the basis of Net Zero Nation Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change is “People are aware of the action that all of Scotland is taking to tackle climate change and understand how it relates to their lives” (p. 7). The plan is achieve this by delivering evidence-based and positively framed messages to the Scottish public through reliable channels.

Net Zero Nation Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change emphasizes that carefully designed, evidence-based public awareness campaigns could help convey climate change’s importance and motivate people to take action. The Let’s Do Net Zero campaign is cited as a case study. The campaign was launched in June 2021 to inform people about the climate emergency and to help them understand what Scotland was doing in response. Based on up-to-date research and focus groups, campaign messages were shared through television, radio, outdoor, print, social media, and other digital forms. The Net Zero Scotland website, which was created as part of the campaign, offers informative content to raise public awareness about the climate emergency and Scotland's response.

Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change considers culture and heritage projects as having significant potential to engage Scottish communities. Such projects help the public understand, visualize, and change their thinking about the potential impacts of climate change. To harness this potential, the Scottish Government was planning to collaborate with the culture and heritage sectors and support pilot projects that would enhance awareness.

Climate Ready Scotland: Second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2019-2024 (2019) set out policies and proposals to prepare the country for challenges arising from climate change. The first outcome presented in the five-year plan is “Our communities are inclusive, empowered, resilient, and safe in response to the changing climate.” It was noted that local actors were to prepare local community adaptation action documents that would also include plans to increase awareness and build adaptation capacity.

Scotland has created a network of local climate action hubs focusing on regional strategies to address climate change. These hubs have various roles, like raising awareness about the climate emergency, suggesting actions for local groups, developing local plans, and promoting community connections. In 2020, two pilot hubs were chosen following an expressions-of-interest exercise: the Highlands and Islands Climate Hub (covering the Highlands, Orkney, and Shetland) and the NESCAN Hub (covering Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire), both starting in 2021. Community groups can apply to create and lead a climate action hub in their region. Network coordinators, employed by the Scottish Climate Communities Action Network, work closely with communities to understand their needs and assist groups with the application process.

Architecture and Design Scotland supported by the Scottish Government, is conducting the Climate Action Towns project, which aims to create a network of climate action towns in Scotland. The project assists nine towns in the country in developing local plans focusing on climate action. The initiative addresses local challenges, supports communities in plan development, promotes collaboration, and develops effective methods for initiating and implementing climate action. This support ensures that communities in areas with limited past participation in climate action have a voice in a fair transition to net zero. Furthermore, the knowledge gained from this project could guide climate action efforts in towns in Scotland and other regions.

As a partner in the Carbon Literacy Project since 2016, Keep Scotland Beautiful has been providing carbon-literacy training. These training sessions enhance the knowledge and skills of individuals and organizations regarding the climate crisis, enabling them to contribute to the achievement of the net zero target.

As part of the Curriculum for Excellence, a specialized development officer has been working to promote community resilience. The primary focus of this role is to create awareness about how teachers can integrate resilience into the teaching and learning processes. In this context, the development officer would support a program encouraging resilience experts to collaborate with schools in their respective regions, making learning more practical and relevant. Meetings and national networking events have been planned among local authorities, resilience experts, and educational professionals. A community resilience brochure with various best-practice examples and case studies has been disseminated to encourage the adoption of successful practices.

Moreover, a series of professional learning activities have been conducted to explore the integration of resilience into the curriculum. Additionally, Education Scotland has been promoting citizen science as part of the Curriculum for Excellence. In this way, people can contribute to Scotland’s Environment Get Learning webpages, which contain information to help schools and the public better understand their surroundings.

ii. Climate change and public access to information 

Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener (2021) outlines policies to support the economic transformation necessary to reach the UK Government’s net zero target by 2050. These policies aim to empower the public and individuals through practical advice and support to make green choices for people and businesses. The Strategy emphasized that the UK Government’s website was to host comprehensive content on net zero, catering to diverse local needs and ensuring various reliable resources. Furthermore, the UK Government planned to facilitate and support knowledge exchange by establishing global multidisciplinary networks. An example is the Adaptation Research Alliance, an international coalition whose members include researchers, funders, policymakers, development bodies, and community-based organizations. The Alliance is committed to conducting action-oriented research to address the impacts of climate change. and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (formerly the Department of International Development) is among its funders.

The objective of Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (2021) was to create awareness about the global climate emergency’s effects, the Scottish Government’s response, and its contribution to achieving net zero by 2045. In this regard, access to accurate and empowering information for stakeholders is crucial. The Strategy identifies actions to ensure public access to information, including collaborative efforts with various institutions for clear and accessible communication. Marketing and communications activities could be utilized to explain individual contributions toward achieving net zero. The Strategy is implemented with an evidence-based approach, including research and collaboration to examine climate change effects in Scotland and their impact on various demographic groups. Research findings are to be communicated to keep the public informed.

Through the Let’s Do Net Zero campaign, the Net Zero Scotland website informs the public about the climate emergency and the Scottish Government’s measures. The website provides conceptual knowledge about the climate emergency and Scotland’s goals and plans. It also offers information on actions individuals can take in various aspects of their lives. The Net Zero Blog within the website shares articles related to sustainability and examples of good practice. Resources and toolkits regarding net zero for sectors and target groups such as business, education, and community are also available. Net Zero Scotland also keeps members informed through monthly bulletins and maintains a presence on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, and YouTube.

Scotland’s Climate Week, an annual event to raise awareness of the global climate emergency, encourages climate action across the country and individuals, communities and businesses to come together to show support for tackling the climate emergency. The event is also seen as a significant opportunity to disseminate best practices.

Adaptation Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government since 2011, is managed by the sustainability charity Sniffer. The program provides advice and support to public, private, and community sectors for adapting to the effects of climate change. The program’s website provides tools and resources in various formats, such as visuals, films, games, and downloadable templates to support the public sector, businesses, and communities. These tools and resources cover different topics such as climate change, organizational culture, and collaboration. Additionally, the website includes case studies that can inspire organizations.

Ready Scotland is a website managed by the Scottish Governments Resilience Division, which is responsible for emergency planning, response, and recovery processes. The website aims to enhance Scotland’s preparedness and resilience in emergencies, including local and global severe weather events anticipated because of climate change. The website provides content for preparation for and response to various emergency scenarios, offering guides, emergency-kit lists, and recommendations. It advises individuals, groups, and local businesses to support their communities during challenging times and strengthen resilience. The website’s Resilience Learning Hub offers free learning and resilience training modules, including 1) The Foundation of Emergency Management in Scotland, 2) Partnership Working in Emergency Management, and 3)The Role of Community Groups in Emergencies. The website also links to resources provided by different organizations on topics such as health, well-being, and safety.

iii. Climate change and public participation 

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019) mandated the Scottish ministers to establish a panel representing the general population of Scotland (Article 32A). This legislation led to the formation of Scotland’s Climate Assembly, bringing together over 100 individuals who represent the population. The Act specifies that gender balance should be observed among the participants. The Assembly is tasked with providing input to contribute to efforts for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. To do so, it prepares reports presenting its recommendations and shares them with the Scottish Government. After receiving the reports, Scottish ministers must publish a statement outlining how to respond to the recommendations within a specified timeframe. The Assembly published its first set of recommendations in June 2021, and the Scottish Government shared its response to the recommendations in December 2021.

Since Assembly members are individuals aged 16 and above, the Children’s Parliament invites underage members to participate in Scotland’s Climate Assembly to provide their views. Additionally, to incorporate children’s perspectives into the recommendations, a smaller group of adult members comes together to discuss the recommendations with children.

Scottish Government social researchers, working in collaboration with a researcher from Newcastle University, published an independent research report on the experiences and impacts of the Scotland’s Climate Assembly members in March 2022. The results showed strong support for areas that enable balanced and informed discussions on climate change among the public in Scotland. It has been recommended to institutionalize citizens’ assemblies by creating rules and regulations for the meeting processes and by clarifying issues of independence and accountability. Additionally, providing office space and a dedicated budget was emphasized.

The 2050 Climate Group, an organization comprising over 50 volunteers, empowers young individuals to take the lead in addressing the impacts of climate change. The Group provides climate leadership training to young people between 18 and 30 to pursue this goal. This training equips them with the skills, knowledge, networks, and opportunities necessary to drive action on climate change. The Scottish Government has supported the Group since 2014. Additionally, its representatives participate in the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Commission, ensuring that the opinions of young people regarding climate change are considered.

The Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018–2032: Securing a Green Recovery on the Path to Net Zero (2018) outlines Scotland’s net zero goals and incorporates viewpoints from various sectors and the public. To achieve the net zero goals, members of the Scottish Parliament and stakeholders from academia, industry, business, trade unions, and environmental organizations convened six times between May and November 2020. New challenges, opportunities related to climate change targets, and recovery from COVID-19 were discussed during these meetings. Additionally, input was gathered from the Just Transition Commission and the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. The preparation of the Plan took into account recommendations from different civil society organizations such as the Climate Emergency Response Group, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Scottish Environment Link, and WWF Scotland. It was emphasized that achieving the goals and policies in the Plan would only be possible through stakeholder involvement, and the Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change was highlighted in this regard.

One of the three main objectives of the Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change is participation. An aim of the Strategy was to facilitate meaningful climate engagement and conversations with people to accomplish this goal. Within the Strategy, there is an emphasis on including the groups who are most affected by climate change and who have not yet engaged with the issue, such as non-place-based communities. Another main objective is inclusivity, and developing an approach to enable young people to play a meaningful role in policy processes was also prioritized.

The Big Climate Conversation is a dialogue initiative launched in June 2019 across Scotland to discuss the country’s response to the global climate emergency. Scottish charities such as Keep Scotland Beautiful and Impact Funding Partners supported this dialogue. Various methods, such as open-audience workshops and guided sessions, were used to engage with over 2,500 people nationwide. Furthermore, a comprehensive how-to guide was created to enable communities to host discussion events and contribute their input. A small-grants fund aimed at encouraging diverse groups to participate reinforced this effort. An online event was also conducted on Twitter as part of the engagement process. A report published in 2020 shared information about the process and an analysis of the responses. The insights shared informed Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (2021) and the Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018–2032: Securing a Green Recovery on the Path to Net Zero (2020).

During the development of “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023- 2030, the Scottish Government engaged with students and educators to include their perspectives. The Children’s Parliament conducted primary research involving 132 children aged 3 to 14 and teachers through both online and in-person workshops. The University of Dundee conducted an online study using mixed methods, working with children and teachers aged 14 and above. In order to maintain the involvement of children and young individuals in the implementation of the Action Plan, specialized leadership and implementation groups focusing on Children and Young People Learning for Sustainability were to be formed. Individuals and organizations with expertise in involving children and young people would support these groups.

  1. Monitoring and evaluation

i. Country monitoring 

The aim of the National Performance Framework (2018), which outlines Scotland’s overall purpose and vision, is to achieve the National Outcomes set for various policy areas in the country. Progress toward the Outcomes in different policy areas is tracked through regular reports provided by the relevant ministers. Progress in these policy areas is monitored through the National Indicator Performance. Performance on the 81 National Indicators can be tracked in detail through an open data platform. While no specific indicator is related to climate change communication and education, relevant indicators are included under Education and Environment. Environment includes indicators such as “Energy from renewable sources,” “Waste generated,” and “Biodiversity.” Among the indicators listed under the Education heading are “Education attainment,” “Young people’s participation,” and “Workplace learning.”

Information regarding monitoring and assessment is provided in the policy documents that outline Scotland’s strategies for climate change, climate change education, and communication. Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018-2032: Securing a Green Recovery on a Path to Net Zero (2020) introduced a monitoring framework and integrated indicators for policies across each listed sector. These indicators have been designed to align with the National Performance Framework. The Scottish Government reports on progress toward Scotland’s climate change plan through annual monitoring reports. The National Performance Framework formed the foundation for two published reports on the Climate Change Plan in October 2018 and December 2019. The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019) established a legal foundation for the monitoring framework for climate change plans. This marked the first time that sector-specific progress reports had been mandated that encompassed issues related to a just transition. No monitoring report was produced in 2020, as this fell during the process of updating the climate change plan. In 2021 and 2022, monitoring reports were posted on the official website.

In the Update to the Climate Change Plan 2018-2032: Securing a Green Recovery on a Path to Net Zero, the outcome indicators for the previous climate change action plan were reviewed to align with updated policy commitments and enhance the quality and clarity of the indicators. As a result, new outcome indicators were defined, existing ones were revised, and any deemed insufficient were removed.

Similarly, the Climate Ready Scotland: Second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (2019) also presents a monitoring framework within the document. To assess the first Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme, annual public-sector climate change reporting and the adaptation indicators prepared by ClimateXChange in 2016 were utilized. Among the updated indicators are indicators related to water usage, notified species and habitats, and agricultural production. However, no indicator is related to environmental change or climate change communication and education. The monitoring framework for the Climate Change Adaptation Programme was established on this basis, considering recommendations from the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the UK’s Climate Change Committee and ClimateXChange.

The monitoring and assessment framework presented in Net Zero Nation: Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (2021) primarily leverages the National Indicators. To develop the framework, a comprehensive, multi-method approach was adopted that includes a range of quantitative and qualitative data, integrating individual community stories and national performance indicators, and following recommendations shared by consultation respondents. Furthermore, regular reporting intervals are to track progress on the objectives.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009) obligates Scottish ministers to establish a program for making policies and setting objectives related to Scotland’s adaptation to climate change. Reports assessing progress in implementing the objectives, proposals, and procedures stated in the Act must be submitted to the Parliament at 12-month intervals.

“The Scottish Ministers must lay before the Scottish Parliament reports setting out their assessment of the progress made towards implementing the objectives, proposals and policies set out in the programme.”

– Climate Change (Scotland) Act, 2009, Article 54(2)

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act (2019) forms the basis for the monitoring framework for climate change plans. The Act requires Scottish ministers to provide a report on each significant part of the latest climate change plan annually (ARTICLE 35B). Accordingly, the Scottish Government prepares an annual progress report. The 2023 Climate Change Plan: Monitoring Reports did not include a section related to climate change communication and education.

The national curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence (2004), defined experiences and outcomes (2017) to plan learning and assess progress. For this purpose, expected national standards have been developed for every level and across all curriculum areas to clarify what students need to know and be able to do in order to progress through the levels.

The learning outcomes that students need to know and experience are presented under different curriculum areas such as Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Languages, and Sciences. Outcomes under the Science curriculum area include

  • “Develop curiosity and understanding of the environment and my place in the living, material, and physical world.

  • Recognize the impact the sciences make on my life, the lives of others, the environment, and society.

  • Develop an understanding of the Earth’s resources and the need for responsible use of them.

  • Express opinions and make decisions on social, moral, ethical, economic and environmental issues based upon sound understanding.”

– Curriculum for Excellence: Experiences and Outcomes, 2004, p. 259

One of the outcomes included in the Education Scotland Corporate Plan 2022-2024 (2022) was to support the system for gathering, analyzing, evaluating, and sharing an agreed set of quantitative and qualitative data and facilitating independent external evaluation. Furthermore, the Plan specified that during 2022-2024, the focus would be on supporting self-assessment and establishing collaborations for the effective use of context-specific data for planning, monitoring, and reporting purposes.

The Scottish education system’s qualifications and assessment are being re-evaluated as part of the ongoing education reform. Following the reform, the existing inspectorate body, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, is to be transformed along with Education Scotland, combining the curriculum and assessment functions to establish an independent inspectorate body.

Scotland participated in the PISA competence study in 2018. According to the study, 78.4% of 15-year-old students in Scotland claimed to know about climate change. This rate was almost the same as the OECD average. Of the students, 61.4% believed they could explain the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change without assistance.

The aim of “Target 2030”: A Movement for People, Planet and Prosperity: Scotland's Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2023- 2030 (2023) was to develop a core set of indicators to track the progress at different levels of the actions outlined in the road map presented. The indicator set was to be prepared in collaboration with students and teachers and be published in 2024.

ii. MECCE Project Monitoring

The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the education sector plan, Corporate Plan 2022-2024 (2022), for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’

‘Climate change’ is mentioned in the Education Scotland Corporate Plan 2022-2024 once, while ‘environment’ is mentioned two times and ‘sustainability’ is mentioned three times. The term ‘biodiversity’ is not mentioned in the education sector plan for Scotland.

In Scotland’s education system, the national curriculum for students aged 3 to 18 is the Curriculum for Excellence (2004). The Curriculum for Excellence has defined experiences and outcomes (2017) to plan learning and assess progress. This document was scanned for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’

The term ‘climate change’ is mentioned 4 times in the document. The term ‘sustainability’ is used 14 times in the document. The document mentions the term ‘biodiversity’ 4 times.

This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.



This profile was reviewed by Benjamin Murphy, Researcher, Scotland.

Última modificación:

Lun, 11/12/2023 - 11:57