Section 7: Moving Forward
Mainstreaming climate thinking
7.1 We are committed to mainstreaming climate thinking into key policy areas within the Executive. We will work within the wider framework of sustainable development to:
- provide training for policy makers to take account of mitigation and adaptation issues in developing new policies;
- establish an analysts' network to assess and present the carbon impact of policies in a consistent and routine manner, contributing to investment decisions and the Spending Review processes; and
- consider how climate factors are being addressed at policy, plan and programme level as part of the SEA process and contribute to strengthening guidance if necessary.
7.2 The route maps in Section 5 and 6 highlight future opportunities to integrate climate change into policy development. The key message from these is that tackling climate change must be seen as part of a continual process; a process which requires a stepping up of our efforts if we are to transform Scotland into a sustainable, low-carbon country.
7.3 The Executive will continue to work in partnership with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations in developing and implementing a joined up response to the global challenge of climate change. Negotiations on future international commitments under the Kyoto Protocol will be an important part of that in the years ahead.
7.4 We are committed to working more closely with Scottish stakeholders to progress the objectives of this Programme. We will explore how best to do this, considering appropriate mechanisms to reflect differing levels of engagement and areas of interest (from the specific to the broad-ranging).
7.5 The Minister for Environment and Rural Development will be an active player in taking forward the Montreal declaration (see box in Section 4) to which he was a signatory at the Climate Leaders Summit in December 2005. The Executive will seek out opportunities to strengthen further the links with other regional governments (eg Catalonia, Bavaria) to learn lessons and share experiences and best practice.
Measuring and reporting progress
7.6 We have already committed to providing regular progress reports to Parliament in our response last year to one of the Environment and Rural Development Committee's recommendations from its review of climate change. We will report annually to the Scottish Cabinet in the first instance, and then submit a report to Parliament. 59 Public reporting of performance is a key dimension of good governance, increasing transparency and accountability, promoting public engagement and making external scrutiny easier and more effective. The Committee's report and Inquiry into climate change provided valuable and timely input to the development of this Programme. The Executive is keen to explore further opportunities to engage with the Parliament on climate change as a cross-cutting issue relevant to all committees.
7.7 The ERDC also recommended independent audit of the SCCP. We agree an independent audit, or strategic assessment of progress and future direction, will be useful. We will consider suitable mechanisms for this, and appropriate timing. This needs to be considered alongside reporting and assessment arrangements for the UKCCP as there are close linkages between the two Programmes, not least in relation to the Scottish Share.
7.8 The SCCP is one of the main delivery programmes for Scotland's Sustainable Development Strategy. The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Sustainable Scotland will have further opportunities to consider progress on climate change and to provide political direction and guidance. The revised set of Scottish sustainability indicators to be published in March 2006 will be used as the basis for continuous performance reporting on the Executive website and will include climate change indicators.
Communicating more widely
7.9 Much of this Programme is about what the Executive or other public sector bodies will do to help reduce Scotland's carbon footprint and vulnerability to the changing climate - either directly or through encouraging others to behave differently (via policies, regulation, funding, advice or other forms of support).
7.10 That on its own is not enough if we are to move to a radically different low carbon pathway by 2050. Everyone must accept responsibility: we must change our ways and adopt more sustainable patterns of behaviour - and that includes individuals, households, businesses, community groups and the voluntary sector.
7.11 We will help to make this happen in a number of ways and through a range of communication channels. As a start, a tailored version of this Programme will be produced for the wider public, in a form which is easy to read and encourages action. As part of the Executive's Sustainable Development Communications Plan, to be published this Spring, we will aim to get the climate change message across as widely as possible - to businesses, consumers, public service providers and others. And we will take steps to embed climate change into learning and education as part of the Executive's activities for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.