We can’t afford to wait. We must all take action now to tackle the climate emergency

We can’t wait for our political leaders to make decisions. It is their indecision that has led us to this point. We all have a part to play to tackle the climate emergency, says Changeworks Chief Executive Josiah Lockhart. This is paid for advertising and does not reflect the views of The Scotsman.

In recent months, governments in Holyrood and Westminster have scrapped, diluted and U-turned on a range of environmental policies and targets, putting Scotland and the UK’s net zero goals at risk.

The scrapping of key climate targets alongside the Climate Change Committee’s assessment that the Scottish Government’s 2030 climate goals are “no longer credible”, have caused distress, disappointment and anger.

At Changeworks, we know that the accelerating climate emergency and its impacts are of huge concern to people living in Scotland.

A recent survey* we commissioned showed that 79% think climate change is a major problem that needs to be addressed. The Scottish public know that it is the most significant threat to the environment and our way of life.

Whether it is changing lifelong habits or installing energy-efficient measures, there is a clear willingness from the Scottish public to tackle climate change head on.  Almost half of survey respondents said they had already taken action, or are about to, in order to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

What we need is certainty that our government is committed to taking urgent action for Scotland to once again lead the UK in tackling the climate emergency.

Backing for Heat in Buildings Bill

The Scottish Government must pass the Heat in Buildings Bill without delay to give homeowners the clarity they need when it comes to making their homes more energy efficient through sustainable technology.

Buildings account for around 20% of Scotland’s carbon emissions, mostly from fossil fuel-reliant heating systems, therefore any move to net zero has to include support for energy efficiency and renewable heating in our homes.

Cost, however, is a huge barrier to making necessary changes to homes. In our survey, 57% of respondents said that cost is stopping them from making changes to their home to make it more energy efficient. This is despite over half saying they’d consider installing technology like an air source heat pump. The cost-of-living crisis has made this task even more difficult.  

It is clear that more support is required to make decarbonising homes a reality. Only 39% of survey respondents were aware that schemes, such as the Home Energy Scotland Grant, are available to help finance retrofits. 

However, we can’t wait for our political leaders to make decisions. It is their indecision that has led us to this point. We all have a part to play to tackle the climate emergency.

Changeworks Chief Executive Josiah LockhartChangeworks Chief Executive Josiah Lockhart
Changeworks Chief Executive Josiah Lockhart

There are smaller and bigger actions we can take at home now to help lower our energy use, lower carbon emissions and make our homes warmer and more affordable to heat.

This could be something as simple and low cost as draught proofing or installing long-lasting LED light bulbs. Managing hot water usage and your appliances around the home, so they’re used more efficiently, can also make a difference to your bills.

On the other side of the scale, retrofitting your home is the best way to lower your home’s carbon emissions. From insulation through to generating your own energy, a whole house retrofit future-proofs the home.

At Changeworks, we continue to invest in services to support householders to meet the standards set out by the Heat in Buildings Bill. This includes EcoCosi, our tailored home retrofit service for homeowners, as well as our wealth of energy information and advice on the website.

A low-carbon society must be a just one. Decarbonising and improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes is key to this. 

*Changeworks commissioned a nationally representative survey of adults in Scotland in November ’23 managed by 56 Degree Insight.