Findings of The Big Climate Conversation

In the October issue of the Voice we reported on the The Big Climate Conversation event that Eco Savvy hosted. It was part of a series of discussion events organised by the Scottish government to gather the views of people across Scotland on the climate issues that they find most pressing and what they think the government needs to be doing to tackle the climate emergency. This includes implementing policies that better enable individuals to change their behaviour to help reduce carbon emissions and lead more environmentally sensitive lives. The findings of the exercise have now been publishedThe following is a summary of the exercise, and the link to the full report can be accessed below.

The Big Climate Conversation engaged over 2,500 people in Scotland over a six month period in a discussion about Scotland’s response to tackling the global climate emergency. Conversations took place across the whole country in a variety of formats, with events held in over 80% of local authority areas. Participants had the chance to discuss with others the national and societal changes required to transition to a net-zero emissions society.

Participants were able to engage in a variety of different ways. Ten open audience workshops were held, this included a specific event in Stirling focused at a youth audience. A further 5 facilitated events were held that were specifically targeted at participants with lower prior engagement in climate change. A ‘How-To Guide’ was also created to enable communities to hold their own conversation events and submit their feedback. This was further supported by a small-grants fund to encourage new audiences to engage in the process. An online event was also held on Twitter.

Due to the differing audiences that engaged in the different workshops, a wide variety of responses was received. For example participants at the 10 open audience workshops were clear in saying they did not think government targets were ambitious enough. This response differed when talking to audiences who were less engaged in climate change issues. Across responses there was widespread support for increased action on climate change in a variety of areas. A full analysis of sectoral discussions is included within the report.

Although there was a wide range of views expressed throughout The Big Climate Conversation, a number of cross-cutting issues emerged:
1. A holistic and system-wide approach Participants thought all actions proposed were important, but suggested that they need to be taken forward as part of an integrated plan rather than as individual strands.
2. Government leadership There was a consensus amongst participants that Government needs to change ‘the system’ so that low carbon behaviours become the most convenient or only option.
3. A just transition Participants stressed that action to address climate change should not exacerbate inequalities and, where possible, should reduce them.

The full report can be read here