Chapter 2.1.3 Inclusion, participation and education

Include disabled people’s voices

Ensure disabled people’s voices are meaningfully and consistently included in the fight for climate justice in Scotland, including through funding and supporting platforms which enable this while proactively removing financial and other barriers to participation in policymaking.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Disabled people make up 15% of the world’s population and are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to being more likely to be marginalised by poverty and other social barriers that make them less likely to be evacuated safely, more prone to health risks and less likely to have insurance that protects their assets and homes.41 Disabled people have historically been left out of policy discussions and must be included to co-produce ways forward that work for everyone.

Specifically, disabled people and their organisations must be involved in policy making to achieve a truly Just Transition to net-zero.

In its work on public engagement on climate change, the Scottish Government must ensure that disabled people and disabled people’s own organisations are fully recognised and involved in the engagement process.

In the context of ‘normalising’ climate action, we need to be sure whose ‘normal’ we are using as a barometer.  As we seek to rapidly shift towards a low-carbon economy we need to acknowledge where disabled people may experience discrimination or additional disadvantage and actively involve them in identifying the challenges and opportunities for creating sustainable, inclusive and accessible responses to climate change, being mindful about the scope for competing interests and goals, and the need for disabled Scots to be involved in co-producing ways forward that work for everyone.

Examples of where this can go wrong include some active travel schemes which are not accessible, and the current need for some single use plastics, for example drinking straws, for some disabled people.

For further information:


Disabled People Cannot Be “Expected Losses” in the Climate Crisis, Julia Watts Belser, 2019,

Version 1.0: September 2023

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