Climate Change Bill: consultation

Consultation on a new Climate Change Bill to amend parts of the 2009 Act relating to emission reduction targets and reporting duties.

Section 5: Assessing the wider impacts of the proposals

Updating the levels of long-term climate target ambition has the potential to indirectly affect all people living in Scotland, both now and in future generations. It also has the potential to affect all sectors of the Scottish economy and various aspects of the Scottish environment.

Assessing impacts on people

Scotland's transition to a low carbon economy must be focused on equality and justice. The actions needed to meet reduction targets will have substantial impacts on every person living in Scotland, both now and in future generations. Given the long term nature of the targets which will be set out in the Climate Change Bill it is difficult to know exactly what these impacts will be. Much will depend on specific policies and proposals to reduce emissions and how they are implemented. It is important that vulnerable groups are not negatively affected.

The Scottish Government proposes to assess the impacts of the proposed Bill on different groups of people through a combined process of Equalities Impact Assessment ( EQIA), Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment ( CRWIA) and socio-economic assessment. The remainder of this subsection sets out the draft findings of this process to date. A Stage 1 Template for the CRWIA aspect of the process has also been published alongside this document.

The Scottish Government is a champion of climate justice as an approach to tackling climate change internationally. This approach focuses on equality and human rights, as the adverse effects of a changing climate are expected to disproportionately impact vulnerable groups across the world. By showing leadership on climate ambition, the Scottish Government intends to encourage other countries to make similar commitments. The existence of a global climate action framework, in the form of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, which contains mechanisms to ensure countries progressively raise ambition over time, will strengthen this influence.

Scotland's people will benefit from reducing the effects associated with global climate change, through reduced exposure to risks associated with flooding and extreme weather events. However, it is recognised that updating the levels of Scotland's domestic climate targets can only ever have a relatively small direct effect on global emission levels.

The concept of a 'Just Transition' to the low-carbon economy applies domestically, as well as internationally. The impacts for Scotland's people of the policies used to deliver emission reductions are expected to be overwhelmingly positive. For example, the Scottish Government's energy efficiency programme will make homes warmer and help reduce fuel poverty, alongside delivering reduced emissions. It is, however, also recognised that decarbonisation policies have the potential to lead to unintended adverse impacts, including on inequalities, through factors such as energy costs.

The nature and magnitude of these impacts, including different groups of people, will depend on the particular package of emission reduction measures that will be used to meet the targets. The proposed Bill retains the approach of the 2009 Act of requiring that these packages are defined in strategic delivery plans, which can be updated as circumstances evolve, rather than in the primary legislation itself. As a result, the most effective way to ensure that decarbonisation action is fully integrated with building an inclusive economy and tackling inequalities is for detailed impact assessments to be undertaken for individual emission reduction policies, as appropriate. [14]

Question 10:

What are your views on these initial considerations of the impact of the Bill proposals on Scotland's people, both now and in future generations?

Assessing impacts on businesses and regulation

Tackling climate change means adjusting to a more resource-efficient and sustainable economic model. In Scotland this represents a real opportunity to capitalise on our advantages and the strong progress towards decarbonisation that we have already made, and help Scotland be the most attractive place to do business in Europe.

The Scottish Government is conducting a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment ( BRIA) of the proposals set out in this consultation paper. A partial BRIA has been published alongside this document, as an "accompanying document" on CitizenSpace, and comments are welcomed on the issues set out within it.

Question 11:

What are your views on the opportunities and challenges that the Bill proposals could present for businesses?

Assessing impacts on the environment

The Scottish Government is assessing the impacts of the proposed Bill on the environment through a process of Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA). An Environmental Report will be published as soon as possible in July and made available on the CitizenSpace page as an "accompanying document" to this paper.

Question 12:

a) What are your views on the evidence set out in the Environmental Report that has been used to inform the assessment process? (Please give details of additional relevant sources).

b) What are your views on the predicted environmental effects as set out in the Environmental Report?

c) Are there any other environmental effects that have not been considered?

d) Do you agree with the conclusions and recommendations set out in the Environmental Report?

e) Please provide any other comments you have on the Environmental Report.


Email: Jack Murray,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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