Scotland is committed to achieving a 75% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2045, see Part 1 of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.
Delivering these national targets presents huge challenges in terms of the pace of action and the skills and finance required. The public sector is crucial to the implementation of national and local climate policy. Public bodies are also expected to show leadership by continuing to reduce their own emissions quickly – most sectors, including the public sector, will need to reduce emissions close to zero without offsetting for Scotland to meet its national climate change goals.
The statutory framework for public sector climate action and reporting is outlined below:
- Part 4 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 places duties on all public bodies relating to climate change. These duties commenced 1 January 2011.
- Section 44 states that a public body must, in exercising its functions, act:
.....in the way best calculated to contribute to the delivery of Scotland’s national emissions reduction targets (known as ‘mitigation’);
.....in the way best calculated to help deliver Scotland’s statutory climate change adaptation programme;
.....in a way that it considers is most sustainable.
- The Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015 (made under Section 46 of the 2009 Act) requires Schedule 1 Listed Bodies to report annually on climate change duties compliance.
- The form and content of the annual compliance report is specified in Schedule 2 of the 2015 Order, (as amended - see below).
- Amendments to the 2015 Order include changes to Listed Bodies and to report content, see The Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020.
- All compliance reports (due 31st November 2022 and thereafter) must also include:
where applicable, the body’s target date for achieving zero direct emissions of greenhouse gases, or such other targets that demonstrate how the body is contributing to Scotland achieving its emissions reduction targets;
where applicable, targets for reducing indirect emissions of greenhouse gases;
how the body will align its spending plans and use of resources to contribute to reducing emissions and delivering its emissions reduction targets;
how the body will publish, or otherwise make available, its progress to achieving its emissions reduction targets; and
where applicable, what contribution the body has made to helping deliver Scotland’s Climate Change Adaptation Programme.
All reports submitted since 2016 and SSN Annual Summary Analysis reports, are available here.
Public sector leadership on the global climate emergency: guidance developed by the Scottish Government and SSN, October 2021.