Solutions to climate change

By improving energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy and adopting sustainable transport and building practices, we can reduce our contribution to climate change while creating a stronger, healthier and more secure nation.

Action is being taken on an international, European and domestic level to: 

  • help find solutions for the causes of climate change (mitigation);
  • help find ways of dealing with the effects of climate change (adaptation).

We support business and industry with their environmental responsibilities and to help find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.

International action

On an international level, the main source of information is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation.

The work of the IPCC served as the basis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN FCCC) – an international environmental treaty which came into force in 1994.

The first addition to the treaty was the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 which came into effect in 2005. This provides a list of policies and measures that might help mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development.

European action

The European Union (EU)’s main instrument for developing a climate change strategy is the European Climate Change Programme .

In order to gradually reduce emissions, the EU has established a system based on trading greenhouse gas emissions levels (the European Union Emissions Trading System) and specific rules on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The European Commission has also produced a paper entitled Limiting Global Climate Change to 2° Celsius: The way ahead for 2020 and beyond. This document contributes to international discussions on a future global agreement to combat climate change.

UK and Scottish Government action

Although tackling climate change is a devolved matter, the Scottish Government works in close partnership with the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland. The Department of Energy and Climate Change, is responsible for co-ordinating this activity, for example, for international reporting.

In 2008, the UK Climate Change Act  set a statutory target for the UK as a whole to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and provides a framework for shared action.

As a key part of this long-term legal framework, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), serves as the expert body. The role of the CCC is to provide  independent, evidence-based advice to the Scottish and UK Governments on climate change, including assessing progress towards their emissions reductions targets for 2020 and 2050.

In Scotland, the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 aims to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

The Scottish Government has also produced Scotland's first climate change adaptation programme in 2014 , designed to help manage risks, improve resilience and safeguard communities from the impacts of a changing climate.

Regulating industry

We make a significant contribution to Scotland's response to, and understanding of, climate change. Our regulatory powers help to control industrial emissions, which have declined by more than 40% since 1990.

Play your part

Everyone can help Scotland address climate change. Whether you are a householder, part of a community or a business, we all have a part to play.

More information on climate change is available on the Scottish Government’s website and Greener Scotlandhas further advice on how to live a greener lifestyle.

For more information about climate change, about how it affects you and how you can help to address it, please contact us.