4. Responses to the Proposed Vision and Outcomes
4.1 This chapter sets out responses to consultation questions five and six, which cover the proposed vision and outcomes for the draft Programme.
- The majority view was of agreement with the draft vision and draft outcomes.
Question 5: Do you agree with our long-term vision for adapting to climate change in Scotland?
4.2 The vision set out in the consultation document is provided below.
'Our overarching vision is that we live in a Scotland where our built and natural places, supporting infrastructure, economy and society are climate ready, adaptable and resilient to climate change'.
A quantitative overview of responses
4.3 There were sixty-eight responses to Question 5. Of these, fifty-three respondents answered 'yes' indicating that they agreed with the draft vision; ten selected 'unsure' and five answered 'no'.
4.4 Nearly three quarters (47 out of 73 consultation participants) provided an explanatory comment in addition to their yes/unsure/no answer. Their comments provide greater insight into participants' views; two thirds (31 out of 47) agreed with the vision overall, but highlighted matter for further consideration by the Scottish Government; eleven fully endorsed the vision and had no changes to suggest. The five participants who disagreed with the vision explained their rationale, and two participants provided general comments that did not indicate a clear view about the proposal. Themes in these responses are outlined below:
Articulation and achievement of the vision
4.5 There were several comments on the wording or positioning of the vision, which varied depending on the participant. For example, eleven participants suggested the vision should act as a call to arms, adopting urgent and robust language to convey the speed and scale of change required. One participant praised the elements of flexibility they identified within the vision; another alluded to the challenge of developing a vision that is understood across the range of sectors the Scottish Government wishes to engage.
4.6 Roughly half of the comments on articulation or language included reference of specific words to add to the vision or elements to change:
- One asked the Scottish Government to explain the terms 'adaptive and resilient'; another two respondents suggested these terms were overused and called for a streamlining of the language.
- There were calls from individual participants to reference specific issues within the vision, including: (i) culture and (ii) reducing emissions (iii) the importance of educating young people about climate change (iv) consideration of extreme scenarios (v) freshwater resources (vi) social justice and (vii) greater reference to the circular economy.
- One participant suggested that infographics and visuals would strengthen the presentation of the vision.
- Another highlighted the recent efforts made in Scotland to become a leader in renewable energy production and felt these could be more strongly conveyed in the vision.
4.7 Six respondents reflected on ways for the Scottish Government to support the achievement of the vision. Three of these highlighted the need for a whole-government approach to embedding adaptation.
4.8 There were also several references to timescales; five participants expressed concern that the vision does not specify when the outcomes should be achieved. Another called for the Scottish Government to establish a long-term vision which considers the Programme a five-year step; a few respondents requested that progress toward the vision be reviewed after five years. Linked to this point, one respondent suggested the programme should be flexible and developed over time to allow responses to any new risks or threats. Another called for the Programme to provide a plan for the impacts of large-scale global events that are influenced by climate change.
Examples of facilitators, barriers and opportunities linked to vision enactment
4.9 Five respondents shared examples of the vision enactment; or conversely, barriers to achieving the vision. These included:
- Adopting ecosystem-based approaches.
- Learning from countries where climates are changing quickly, such as Canada.
- Implementing decarbonising strategies.
- Challenges experienced by small business owners.
- The role of the forestry sector in achieving the vision.
4.10 A small number of respondents highlighted opportunities linked to the Programme. For example, one suggested the scope to go further in using adaptation to address existing inequalities in society; another noted that farmers are currently at risk from soil erosion but changing temperatures, rainfall, and seasonality which could present opportunities for diversification of crops and livestock.
Uncertainty about or disagreement with the proposed vision
4.11 As noted at 4.3 above, ten of the respondents who provided a yes/no/unsure response to question 5 selected 'unsure'. All of these participants shared a comment with their response. Their uncertainty about endorsing the vision was attributed to a range of reasons, as follows:
- Lack of reference to social justice within the vision.
- A wish for the vision to convey a greater sense of urgency.
- A desire for more education about climate change.
- Calls for more ambition, including systemic change and specific statements of commitment.
- Concerns about the appropriateness of a 'one-size fits all' approach.
- Lack of reference to reducing emissions within the vision.
- A need for greater clarity about the long-term vision and timescales for achieving change.
- A desire for more information about how the vision will be implemented.
4.12 The five participants who disagreed with the vision expressed strong views in their comments. These aligned with the themes described above and typically centred on calls for the vision to convey a greater sense of urgency and ambition.
A sample of illustrative quotes that typify the themes identified in responses to Question 5
The vision is broadly framed well, but we would also ask Scottish Government to consider the potential for refining the adaptation as a springboard for a more prosperous, equitable, country, where adaptation supports delivery a range of wider Scottish Government outcomes. [Climate Ready Clyde]
We appreciate the vision that you have given but we feel there is a gap in educating people about climate change, especially our generation.
We don't currently think that this subject is as much a priority as it should be in our curriculum. [Sunnyside Polar Explorers, Sunnyside Ocean Defenders - Sunnyside Primary School]
It is appropriately ambitious but simple.[Transport Scotland]
We agree with this long-term vision, and advocate the urgent promotion of specific policies which will achieve it. The promotion of locally-managed initiatives should be encouraged since these may be more responsive to changing circumstances over short timescales, and can be integrated with the promotion of behaviour change at personal and community levels. [Anonymous]
Question 6: Does the Programme identify the right outcomes for Scotland over the next five years?
4.13 The outcomes described in the consultation document are provided below.
'We have developed a set of seven high level "outcomes" for the Programme, derived from the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework.
A framework for each high-level outcome which includes sub-outcomes, policies and proposals, performance indicators and climate change risks is being developed'.
The seven outcomes:
- Our communities are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe in response to the changing climate
- The people in Scotland who are most vulnerable to climate change are able to adapt and climate justice is embedded in climate change adaptation policy
- Our inclusive and sustainable economy is flexible, adaptable and responsive to the changing climate
- Our society's supporting systems are resilient to climate change
- Our natural environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced and has increased resilience to climate change
- Our coastal and marine environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced and has increased resilience to climate change
- Our international networks are adaptable to climate change
A quantitative overview of responses
4.14 There were sixty-five responses to Question 6. Of these, thirty-seven respondents answered 'yes' indicating that they agreed with the draft outcomes; twenty-one selected 'unsure' and seven answered 'no'.
4.15 Roughly three quarters (57 out of 73 consultation participants) provided an explanatory comment in addition to their yes/unsure/no answer. The comments offer greater insight into participants' views; almost all (50 out of 57) indicated they agreed with the outcomes on a general level, but highlighted matters for further consideration by the Scottish Government; five fully endorsed the outcomes as set out in the consultation document and had no changes to suggest. All of the seven participants who disagreed with the outcomes explained their rationale. Themes in these responses are outlined below.
General comments on the outcomes
4.16 Over half (37 out of 57) comments included reference to further areas participants would like to see included in the outcomes section of the draft Programme document. These varied, according to the respondent.
4.17 Just over a third of the participants who provided comment on question 6 (20 respondents) reflected broadly across the outcomes. Roughly half referred to the high-level nature of the outcomes, with many asking for specific detail, for example about actions, targets or performance indicators. A few described broader issues which may affect the achievement of outcomes such as trade relations and the speed of climate change.
4.18 Some participants intimated that the outcomes are unachievable or unmeasurable and called for clarity about where the responsibility for monitoring lies. Seven identified a need for more explicit linkages between outcomes and sub-outcomes; and externally to other policies, risks and adaptations, indirect impacts, and sources of climate change. Another suggested they would like to see more reference to cultural heritage.
4.19 Eleven respondents reflected on the presentation or wording of the outcomes. Three identified an overlap and linkages between the outcomes, suggesting a hierarchy between them, for example that outcomes one, two and seven underpin the others. One suggested the document include a 'key' to areas covered under each outcome so that the strategic linkages are more clearly understandable. Another suggested rationalising and simplifying the strategic/outcomes 'wheel'. There were also comments about the use of specific words or phrases.
4.20 Ten respondents called for greater urgency or ambition in their comments, with two calling on the Scottish Government for more communication about climate change with the public and including this topic as a mandatory part of education curricula. More action on transport modes and infrastructure and on prevention were also highlighted.
4.21 Five respondents said they would like to see more detail/clarity on what is meant by climate justice or how behaviour change/engagement will be achieved. Three mentioned they would like more detail on supply chains/food, indirect impacts, mental/psychological health impacts, main sources of climate change, mitigation (specifically afforestation), how any actions will be resourced, review and ongoing responsiveness to emerging research. There were also repeated calls for greater emphasis on infrastructure or built (including historic) environment.
Comments on specific outcomes
4.22 The graph below shows the number of comments on specific outcomes, by participant group.
Number of Responses to Specific Outcomes by Participant Group
4.23 Themes in the comments on outcomes are described below:
4.24 Outcome 1 states 'communities are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe in response to the changing climate'. The comments on this outcome focussed mainly on issues for greater prominence in the draft Programme. These included reference to:
- The built environment (8 comments).
- Education/informing/engaging communities/behaviour change (3 comments).
- Equalities/climate justice (3 comments).
- Mental health/psychological impacts.
- Travel modes.
- Need to include places as well as communities.
- Food growing.
4.25 Outcome 2 states 'The people in Scotland who are most vulnerable to climate change are able to adapt and climate justice is embedded in climate change adaptation policy.' There were many comments on the concept of climate justice. For example, one asked for more clarity on what this means and how it might be embedded in policy, and for explicit reference to the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on both physical and mental health in sub-outcomes 2.2 and 2.3. A few suggested inequality should be the central focus of the climate adaptation agenda. Conversely, one respondent commented that the reference to embedding climate justice in climate change adaptation policy felt at odds with the scale of the other outcomes and suggested it may be more appropriately incorporated in a sub outcome or as a policy response.
4.26 Some of the comments included a combined mention of outcomes 1 and 2. Links between these outcomes were identified with some calling for greater separation between the issues of community capacity building and the built environment. Other themes in comments on outcome two include:
- Three remarks about sub-outcome 2.2: one felt the discussion about active travel should extend beyond leisure. There was a suggestion that the broader public health community can contribute by supporting people directly, shaping policy and practice, adding to the evidence base and protecting people from the impacts of climate change.
- Two respondents commented that this outcome placed the burden of responsibility on those most at risk/vulnerable, calling for a focus on supporting and empowering people, rather than increasing their ability to adapt. Another added that it is crucial to recognise that the responsibility for adaptation lies with everyone and not just those at risk.
- Comments on sub-outcome 2.3 included a call for the potential of green infrastructure to improve air quality to be included.
- Other comments about the built environment included a call for greater consideration of those living in older buildings and conservation areas and for the inclusion of the word 'landscapes' within the outcome.
- One participant suggested the policies listed to do not cover all the risks identified under this outcome. Another, while supporting the climate justice focus, felt it should be linked to sub outcome 1.1.
4.27 Outcome 3 states 'our inclusive and sustainable economy is flexible, adaptable and responsive to the changing climate'. Comments about this outcome centred on the potential for economic opportunities associated with climate change to contribute to a more inclusive and fairer society. There was mention that this could support the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy, which promotes increasing competitiveness while simultaneously tackling inequality. Another called for greater mention of the importance of resilient buildings and places (sub-outcome 1.2) in this and outcomes 3 and 4.
4.28 Outcome 4 states 'our society's supporting systems are resilient to climate change'. One participant suggested elements of this and outcome 1 (which include buildings and places) could be considered together. Another identified an opportunity to make the connection between mitigation and adaptation under this outcome.
4.29 Outcome 5 states 'our natural environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced and has increased resilience to climate change'. One participant suggested the separation of the natural environment from other outcomes was problematic, arguing for the integration of other outcomes into natural environment. Another described the relevance of land reform and the importance of policies that favour diverse, flexible and experimental land. More considerable mention of active travel within this outcome was called for by another participant.
4.30 Outcome 6 states 'our coastal and marine environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced and has increased resilience to climate change'. One respondent called for climate change and marine litter lessons as a compulsory part of the national curriculum linked to Health and Well Being; not considered part of geography or science.
4.31 Outcome 7 states 'our international networks are adaptable to climate change'. Four respondents made specific comments on outcome 7, three commenting that the definition/scope of 'international networks' could be improved/expanded/clarified as it could mean none, some or all of food, travel and trade relations and the word 'networks' is ambiguous. They felt it could be strengthened by referencing Scotland's role in advocating for and championing adaptation action and more explicitly addressing climate impacts and responsibilities (including climate justice). One added that, in keeping with commitments to social/climate justice, there should be a specific reference to climate refugees.
A sample of illustrative quotes that typify the themes identified in responses to Question 6
We welcome the high-level outcomes set out by the Programme and their alignment with Sustainable Development Goals and National Performance Framework. This allows for links to be made to wider policy priorities and to see clearly how it fits in and contributes to wider Scottish Government priorities. We view this as a very positive move towards ensuring that adaptation, and more broadly climate change and sustainability, do not operate within a policy vacuum. In addition to this, we welcome the central focus of people and communities and collaborative action. [Keep Scotland Beautiful]
The outcomes are very broad and we would prefer to see them be more cross-cutting and linked together. At the moment, the natural environment is one of the seven outcomes, however, it underpins many of the other outcomes. [Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management]
Broadly, the programme seems appropriate. However, without explicit focus on indirect impacts some of the outcomes will be difficult to achieve. The expected impacts could be redefined include indirect impacts, and the addition of an associated outcome that will target them explicitly. [The James Hutton Institute]