Society Matters: Changing Environmental Attitudes and Behaviour in Scotland

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How prepared are the Scottish public to respond to the major social and economic innovations required by the ambitious Climate Change (Scotland) Act? Secondary analysis of data from the Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2008 is used to appraise levels of awareness and knowledge of climate change, as well as views on personal responsibility, consumption, energy and car use, and willingness to change. Although climate change is a concern shared by the majority, in everyday life it typically remains a back of the mind issue, and there is little evidence of broad practical engagement with the emissions reduction targets. It is argued that social values are critical to public responses to the legislation, but core values of individualism, consumerism and unregulated economic growth are obstacles to the major changes envisaged. Implementing Scotland’s Climate Change legislation will require a transformational politics grounded in civil society, which can challenge entrenched divisions, manage distributional conflicts and recognise the concept of the common good.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-62
Number of pages33
JournalScottish Affairs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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