Climate change homepage
SEPA's position on climate change
We recognise that climate change is the greatest threat to the
future of the planet's ecosystems, with significant socio-economic
consequences for humankind.
The use of fossil fuels, a growing demand for energy and
increased deforestation will escalate emissions of carbon dioxide
to potentially irreversible levels. The scientific understanding of
global warming continues to improve over time. Scotland has adopted
world-leading legislation to address climate change. The planet
itself tells us that action is needed. Science, legislation and
policy has emerged to deliver this action and Scotland is at the
vanguard. We aim to be at the forefront of Scottish efforts.
SEPA's role in addressing climate change
We have a key role in helping Scotland limit and adapt to
climate change. We must also adapt to climate change and reduce our
own emissions. We cover this in more detail in our pages on the
science of climate change; SEPA's role in
helping Scotland address climate change; and its likely impacts on Scotland. Our work must support
wider Scottish, UK, European and international efforts to address
the man-made impacts of climate change.
SEPA's climate change vision
Our vision says that:
'SEPA will do everything in its power to help Scotland address
climate change to ensure Scotland's environment, economy and
Our climate challenge – our climate change plan for
Published in March 2014, Our climate challenge sets out our
vision for climate change for the next five years. The four
strategic themes we are focusing on are:
- Acting as a key climate change leader and adviser.
- Helping Scotland to adapt.
- Working with Scottish business.
- Being an exemplar and educator.
The plan is ambitious and outward facing, contributing to wider
Scottish efforts on climate change. It aims to build on and add
value to our scientific knowledge and expertise – and our function
as a regulator. We realise it is still important that we improve
our own performance and set an example for others. Our plan also
acknowledges the importance of working with partners and
demonstrates where we do this.
The outcomes under each of the four themes tell us where we want
to be by the end of 2018. By setting a direction for the agency,
this shows us where we expect to invest time and effort, building
climate change work into our annual business plans and providing
resources to match needs.
The delivery plan
To support Our climate challenge, we will maintain a delivery
plan. Year by year to 2018 we are taking action to meet the
ambitions of the plan. New actions will come forward in response to
new issues and challenges as these arise.
The delivery plan is currently in preparation as part of the
SEPA business planning process and a summary will be available
How Our climate challenge supports Scottish efforts
We have an important role in supporting the Scottish
Government's world-leading legislation on climate change. The
Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 places duties on the public
sector to deliver progress on climate change in terms of mitigation
– cutting Scotland's emissions; adaptation – reducing the impacts
of climate change on Scotland; and acting sustainability.
Two key Scottish Government documents spell out how we can
contribute to these ambitions. These are Low Carbon Scotland -
Meeting our Emissions Reduction Targets 2013-2027 – the Second
Report on Proposals and Policies and Climate Ready Scotland:
Scotland's climate change adaptation programme.
Guidance issued on the Act identifies the Agency as an
influential 'major player' and sets out how we should report on the
duties. Since 2011–2012 we have published an annual report on how
we are delivering on these duties.
The latest annual report sets out action taken in 2012–2013.
This report, which was independently verified, records the large
amount of climate change work being done.
The report covers our leadership role; our management
arrangements for acting on climate change; reductions of our own
direct greenhouse gas emissions; actions to assess the risks of
climate change impacts; and our work with others on adapting to the
impacts of climate change.
We also report on our work with partners and our work to raise
awareness and to engage with businesses and the broader
Our annual statements will identify actions we are taking to
meet our strategic themes with our plan to help achieve the
Scottish Government's ambitions.
We recognise the value of working with partners and
stakeholders: adding value, securing multiple benefits from
resources invested and achieving shared objectives. Partnerships
hold the key to successfully delivering our ambitions; we will
continue to develop and extend our partnership working.
We have a leading role in Scottish climate change partnerships.
Specifically, our Chief Executive is a member of the Scottish
Government Climate Change Delivery Board, which monitors progress
in Scotland. We are members of the Public Sector Climate Leaders'
Forum and our Chairman is a 'climate change champion' in the
Scottish Government's champions' network. SEPA also participates in
the Climate Leaders' Officer Group. Working with businesses, we
continue to support the 2020 Climate Group.
This is particularly the case with our four agency partnership.
SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Forestry Commission Scotland
and Historic Scotland are all government funded organisations with
responsibilities for different aspects of Scotland's environment
and heritage. We continue to work together and have agreed a joint
statement on climate change.