Scotland is building a net zero, nature positive future. The Global Climate Emergency and the Nature Emergency are twin reinforcing crises: the actions we take to address each are fundamental to our wellbeing and survival as a species.

Scotland is at the forefront of the journey to reach net zero emissions and build a climate resilient, nature positive future. Reaching net zero means taking on the challenges of decarbonisation. Changing how we travel, how we heat our homes, and the sustainability of our food supplies are all vital. Scotland committed to ambitious targets for Scotland to be net zero by 2045, in recognition of the urgency of the crisis. We knew it would not be easy.

Scotland is working closely with other nations to do all we can. We are accelerating the development of renewable and low carbon energy. Our universities are leading pioneering climate change research and our businesses are training our workforce to thrive in the world’s emerging sustainable industries. Our commitment to equality and social justice means we are working to support countries and communities most affected by climate change through our Climate Justice Fund.

We were proud to welcome world leaders to the UN Climate Summit COP26 in our city of Glasgow in 2021, and in 2022 Scotland played an instrumental role at COP27 in encouraging other countries to join us in the creation of a Loss and Damage fund. The focus is now on action, and Scotland will play its part at COP28.

You can find out more about Scotland’s action on climate change and nature restoration below.

Global Climate Justice

Climate change projects around the world have presented us with unique opportunities to support and collaborate with other countries. Internationally, Scotland has led the way in putting Climate Justice at the heart of our overseas action. Our Climate Justice Fund launched in 2012 with £12m to support some of the world’s most vulnerable people in becoming more resilient to climate change. In 2021, the Fund was tripled, committing £36m to be spent over the following parliamentary term. At COP26 the same year, Scotland pledged £2m of the Fund to address loss and damage as a result of climate change. One year on, at COP27, the then First Minister dedicated a further £5m, committed to specifically addressing non-economic and slow-onset loss and damage. With Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda, Bangladesh  and island nations in the Pacific, we are funding community resilience and sharing our climate change expertise.

Scotland also helped establish the Wellbeing Economy Governments group, an initiative where countries work together to develop sustainability, prosperity and resilience in their economies. Additionally, Scotland sits as one of five co-chairs of the Under2 Coalition, committed to ambitious climate action to limit global temperature rises.

Participating in global actions has given Scotland the chance to help deliver lasting change but there is more we can do and the journey will require communities the world over to come together to tackle the big challenges and do more.

Renewable Energies

Scotland is renowned as a renewables pioneer, and has made excellent progress in renewable electricity generation. We’ve set a target for 2030 for the equivalent of 50% of the energy for Scotland's heat, transport and electricity use to come from renewable sources.

Scotland is home to the world’s first floating windfarm, Hywind Scotland, with the world's largest, Kincardine, operating just south of Aberdeen. Combined, both projects generate enough renewable energy to power around 71,000 homes.

As well as a number of world-leading tidal energy project, Scotland is home to the world's first offshore tidal energy array and the world’s most powerful tidal turbine.

Scotland also hosts a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects including: the H100 project in Fife which will deliver the world’s first domestic hydrogen heat network; hydrogen bus fleets; and the world’s first hydrogen production from tidal energy in Orkney.

Just Transition

A just transition is about making sure that, as we reduce our emissions and respond to a changing climate, the journey is fair and creates a better future for everyone – regardless of where they live, what they do, and who they are.

Our National Transition Training Fund is supporting people who are at risk of being left behind in the labour market or whose employment has been impacted by Covid-19 to upskill or retrain. Through academic and business collaborations, we are supporting the Green Investment Portfolio to put Scotland’s investment-ready green projects in the spotlight. And our £62m Energy Transition Fund will help businesses in the oil, gas, and energy sectors adapt to meet the challenge of net-zero.

A crucial part of a just transition is about supporting workers and affected communities as we plan the move away from carbon-intensive industries. Our goal is to make the economy work for everyone so no one is left behind, whilst protecting our planet.  This means the creation of good, green jobs to support this change, and everyone playing their part in creating a fairer and more sustainable society for all.

The Power of Nature

With an abundance of striking natural landscapes and habitats that are home to thousands of varieties of flora and fauna, Scotland is uniquely positioned to tackle climate change. As part of our biodiversity commitments we have increased woodland creation targets to 18,0000 hectares per year by 2024/25, and have increased the native woodland creation target. We are also restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded and drained peatland back to functioning ecosystems. This reduces the carbon that peatlands release and will eventually enable them to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Not only do restored peatlands act as natural carbon capture systems, they also benefit wildlife such as dragonflies and birds and can even improve water quality. 

In 2019, the Scottish Government was invited by the Convention on Biological Diversity to lead a consultation with sub-national bodies on their role in addressing the biodiversity crisis., This culminated in the Edinburgh Declaration which called for a dedicated decision and a renewed Plan of Action on Subnational Governments. Over 300 sub-national governments signed the Declaration and it had a high profile at COP15 in 2022, where the final agreement of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework incorporated the text in the Declaration and adopted the renewed Plan of Action on Subnational Governments. We have since remained an active member of key international networks which are crucial to support and enhance our domestic work to mitigate the effects of biodiversity loss, and we will continue work to raise ambition for biodiversity internationally.

Our ambitious new biodiversity strategy sets out goals to halt nature loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045, and a long-term vision of what our natural environment needs to look like in 2045 in order to reverse biodiversity decline.  We are committed to expanding and improving areas managed for nature, including protected areas, with an ambitious commitment to protect 30% of our land for nature by 2030- also a key target in the new Global Biodiversity Framework.

Climate Change and Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is a priority, not just for Scotland, but for everyone. That's why we're committed to finding ever-greener and cleaner methods of powering the modern world.

Learn more