Chapter 2

Cross-cutting policies

The following chapters discuss our international obligations, economic policy and the change needed in each sector of the economy.  This chapter looks at the overarching considerations that should govern action on climate change – from the level of our ambition on emissions reduction to the need to include every group in society.


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A vital part of this overarching framework are the four EU environmental principles – the precautionary principle, the principle that preventive action should be taken, the principle that environmental damage should, as a priority, be rectified at source and the principle that the polluter should pay.9 The polluter pays principle is particularly relevant for this collection of policies, since the transition to a zero-carbon society should be paid for mostly by those who have created the climate crisis.  The Scottish Government is committed to continuing to observe these principles.10

An issue which comes up several times in the following chapters is public-ownership of key services, whether this is municipal bus companies or a publicly-owned energy company.  For these kinds of essential services, SCCS is generally of the view that a public-service motivation is more likely to succeed than a profit motivation (see chapter 12, Public Sector).

Scotland’s projected emissions by sector 2020-2032 MtCO2 from the Climate Change Plan update11

The trajectory defined for each sector by the 2020 Climate Change Plan Update

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.