Climate change - Net Zero Nation: public engagement strategy

Sets out our overarching framework for engaging the people of Scotland in the transition to a net zero nation which is prepared for the effects of our changing climate.

Annex D – Glossary

Adaptation: Responding to the changes that we have already seen in our climate and preparing for the challenges we will face as our climate continues to change. No matter how successful we are at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it will still be necessary to adapt to the impacts of climate change here in Scotland (which include; warmer, wetter winters, increased extremes of weather and increased risks of flooding) because impacts of past and ongoing global emissions are already locked in. The second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (SCCAP2), published in 2019, sets out the Scottish Government’s outcome-based approach to building climate resilience[36]. The next programme is due to be published in 2024 and will respond to the updated independent assessment of climate risks for Scotland.

Climate Emergency: A situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it[37]. A climate emergency was declared in Scotland in April 2019 by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

Climate Literacy: Competence or knowledge in the area of climate change, including understanding humans’ influence on climate and climate’s impact on society[38].

COP26: The 26th meeting of the Conference Of the Parties (COP), the decision making body of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted in Glasgow. The COP typically meets annually to discuss and agree the global action required to address climate change.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The release of gases that have a negative impact on the planet’s ability to balance incoming and outgoing energy and therefore altering the climate[39]. As the most dominant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), greenhouse gas emissions are sometimes referred to as “carbon emissions”. However, other greenhouse gases are also contributing to global warming, particularly, nitrous oxide and methane[40].

Green Recovery: Connecting the need to recover from the COVID-19 crisis with the need to address the climate and ecological crises by prioritising “green” measures within government recovery packages. Also referred to as “building back better”, a green recovery will direct government funding towards sustainable and low carbon initiatives, innovation, and infrastructure, such as, active travel, the circular economy, and the growth of the renewable energy sector[41]. The Scottish Government is committed to a green recovery from COVID-19.

Just Transition: A just transition is both the outcome – a fairer, greener future for all – and the process that must be undertaken in partnership with those impacted by the transition to net zero. Just transition is how we get to a net zero and climate resilient economy by 2045, in a way that delivers fairness and tackles inequality and injustice.

Mitigation: Actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or enhance the capture of atmospheric greenhouse gases to prevent climate change. This incorporates a wide range of policies and investment across all sectors, including increasing renewable energy generation, switching to zero emission vehicles, and expanding forests.

Net Zero (Emissions): A situation in which any greenhouse gas emissions put into the atmosphere are balanced out by the greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere, so that the “net” effect is zero emissions. Scotland has committed to ‘net zero’ emissions by 2045. To achieve this, we must reduce the emissions we produce to a minimum and capture any greenhouse gases we cannot avoid emitting through initiatives like tree planting.

Open Government: A commitment to ensuring government strategies and initiatives are based on the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation[42]. When we talk about ‘opening up government’, we mean making governments and decision-makers more accessible, more transparent, and more responsive to the citizens they serve. The Scottish Government is committed to these principles and has been a (local) member of the Open Government Partnership since 2016[43].

Wellbeing Economy: An economy in which citizens’ wellbeing drives economic prosperity, stability and resilience, and vice-versa. The wellbeing of people and the planet is at the heart of policymaking, ensuring that growth is equitable and sustainable[44].

That everyone in Scotland recognises the implications of the climate emergency, fully understands and contributes to Scotland’s mitigation and adaptation response, and embraces their role in the transition to a net zero and climate ready Scotland.

People are aware of the action that all of Scotland is taking to tackle climate change and understand how it relates to their lives.

People actively participate in shaping just, fair and inclusive policies that promote mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

Taking action on climate change is normalised and encouraged in households, communities and places across Scotland.



Back to top