Climate change

Climate change is an immediate and urgent problem

Scottish Household Survey 2017.

Concern about climate change is at a record high, according to findings of the Scottish Household Survey 2017.

The annual survey found that 61% of people believe that climate change is an immediate and urgent problem – an increase of 6 percentage points in a single year – and just 7% think climate change will only affect other countries.

The biggest growth in concern is among young people aged 16-24, increasing by more than half between 2013 and 2017.

Action to tackle climate change is a high priority for the Scottish Government, which recognises that without public understanding, engagement and action, it will not be able to meet its climate change targets.

The Scottish Household Survey results show that the majority of adults in Scotland believe that climate change is an immediate and urgent problem, and that the proportion with this view has been increasing for the past three years.

Most adults in Scotland believe that climate change will have an impact on Scotland, that individuals’ behaviour and lifestyles do contribute to climate change, and that individual actions to help the environment are worthwhile.

Most adults also believe that they understand what actions they should take to help tackle climate change. However, the SHS data does not show whether the respondents actually do know what they could do, or whether they are taking any action in practice.

As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling climate change, a new Bill has been introduced in Parliament which will write Scotland’s obligations under the Paris Agreement into domestic law and make Scotland’s existing climate legislation and targets even tougher.

This transition to a low carbon Scotland will involve changes in how people get around; how homes and other buildings are insulated and heated; and how people purchase products and services to support the circular economy. Individuals, families and communities, as well as public bodies, businesses and the third sector, will be essential partners in this effort.

Responding to the results Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time and it is clearly at the forefront of people’s minds. Tackling this global threat is one of the Scottish Government’s top priorities and our new Climate Change Bill means net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050 – in other words Scotland will be carbon neutral. 

“The Scottish Household Survey is a unique opportunity for people to share their views and experiences and help government to understand the issues affecting communities.

“This year’s results show that many people are managing well financially and the majority are happy with their neighbourhoods and local services but we can see that inequalities remain. We are working to reduce poverty and social exclusion through a range of actions across government including investing £125 million this year alone to mitigate the very worst effects of UK Government welfare cuts and protect those on low incomes. These findings will help us continue to make decisions to shape a fair and inclusive Scotland for everyone."


Scottish Household Survey 2017 Climate Change report (17 pages)

The Scottish Government’s Greener Scotland website advises people on how they can help Scotland tackle climate change by changing their everyday behaviours.


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