Scotland Policy Conferences

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email

Next steps for climate change policy in Scotland - the strategy for decarbonisation and achieving net-zero, just transition, and adaptation and resilience

Morning, Thursday, 3rd June 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will be a timely opportunity to assess the next steps for climate change policy in Scotland, as The Scottish Government updates its Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero climate change plan.

With a keynote contribution from Professor Jim Skea, Chair of the Just Transition Commission, the seminar is timed to follow the expected publication of the Commission’s final report and the Scottish Government’s response - and takes place as Scotland prepares to host COP26 in Glasgow.

Areas for discussion include:

  • the pathway to a net-zero Scotland
  • priorities for climate change adaptation
  • securing a just transition in Scotland
  • COP26 and Scotland’s role

The conference is bringing together stakeholders with a range of key policy officials who are due to attend from The Scottish Government, as well as Transport Scotland; BEIS; the British Consulate General; the Climate Change Committee; Defra; HSE; and Natural England.

The agenda

  • Meeting the ambition for a net-zero Scotland by 2045 and key findings from the Just Transition Report
  • Just Transition implementation - green jobs, sustainable change, and protecting local communities and economies
  • Decarbonising Scotland’s energy system - renewables rollout, developing low-carbon heat, and managing transition across industry sectors and communities
  • Addressing climate adaptation and resilience challenges for Scotland and the scope for nature-based solutions
    • Agriculture and environmental protection - scaling up land resilience and implementation of nature-based solutions
    • Flood preparedness and building collaboration across local and sectoral stakeholder groups
    • Mitigating Scotland’s risk from extreme weather events and priorities for infrastructure development
  • COP26 preparations - collaboration with key stakeholders and showcasing Scotland’s leadership in global climate policy
  • Next steps for Scotland’s climate, energy and social policy, and supporting net-zero and green recovery

Key areas of discussion

  • the pathway to a net-zero Scotland - looking at priorities and next steps for policymakers and industry in:
    • decarbonisation - expanding onshore and offshore renewables, support for green businesses, and preparing for low-carbon electricity demand
    • household energy efficiency:
      • a pledge in the recently updated Scotland Climate Change Plan to create 1m zero-emission homes and 100,000 other buildings by 2030
      • further commitments to accelerating retrofit and insulation rollout, fuel poverty policy and financial support, and developing Scotland’s heat network infrastructure
    • energy-intensive industries - collaborating with offshore oil and gas stakeholders, and working towards transition and repurpose opportunities like hydrogen production
  • climate change adaptation - what is needed to improve preparedness and tackle challenges across the natural environment, communities and industry:
    • policy - clear messaging on steps for reducing risk across society, business sectors and the ecosystem, and securing the engagement of natural and built infrastructure stakeholders
    • agriculture and land use - financial challenges for rural stakeholders, low-carbon farming practices, and nature-based strategies such as peatland restoration and woodland creation
    • flooding and extreme weather - scaling up risk identification and management activity, as well as local, coastal and industry collaboration, and large-scale infrastructure project delivery
  • a just transition in Scotland - latest thinking on how goals around safeguarding society and the vulnerable can be combined with those of a green economic recovery following COVID-19:
    • protecting and creating employment - sector-by-sector tailoring of support measures, preparing the economy for green industry growth, and widening training options across Scotland
    • safeguarding rural communities:
      • identifying vulnerabilities and opportunities for addressing employment risks
      • scaling up clean energy deployment for local management
      • rolling out rural environmental protection
    • economic resurgence opportunities - policy design and long-term planning for key growth markets and clean industries in Scotland, dovetailed with post-pandemic economic recovery
    • behavioural change and new ways of working - investment and policy support in areas such as active travel options, efficient transport use, and support for connectivity and home working
  • COP26 and Scotland’s role - demonstrating policy and target ambitions, international cooperation opportunities, and ensuring that key sectors and stakeholders can contribute and influence

A scan of relevant developments

  • the recent update by The Scottish Government to its Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero: climate change plan 2018–2032 - focusing on:
    • policy measures needed for meeting the net-zero target and accelerating cross-sector decarbonisation, such as the launch of a £180m Emerging Energy Technologies Fund to support the development of Scottish hydrogen and carbon capture and storage over the next five years
    • the phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and pledges to reduce the distance travelled by cars by 20% by 2030
    • latest thinking on the potential scope of institutional and financial mechanisms which can support the transition
  • Scotland’s Climate Change plan ‘doesn’t add up’ warn experts - concern from some surrounding the metrics used by The Scottish Government to predict future changes in emissions, and that the Government is over-relying on certain technologies, including carbon capture and hydrogen from fossil fuels
  • Just Transition Commission: advice on a green recovery - the Commission’s final report, due this year, expected to focus on skills and jobs creation, locally-led recovery measures, and delivering tailored support for rural communities to ensure they are not left behind
  • Scottish Government funding and policy packages:
    • £220m to help achieve net-zero - additional funding for the Scottish National Investment Bank aimed at green job creation
    • the Green New Deal - with £1.6bn for developing jobs and skills in energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation, and helping energy-intensive industries across Scotland reduce emissions
    • the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme and the Islands Green Recovery Programme
  • the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme - focused on building capacity for adaptation, nature-based solutions for land use and infrastructure modernisation for protection against flooding and extreme weather events
  • the CCC’s Reducing emissions in Scotland progress report - identifying priorities including an updated climate change plan, developing a net-zero aligned UK Emissions Trading System with other UK governments, low carbon heating, rural support, active travel, skill development, infrastructure resilience and public engagement
  • COP26 - being held in Glasgow, with the opportunity for demonstrating Scottish leadership on climate ambition and action, and for the summit to be a catalyst for international action

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from The Scottish Government; Transport Scotland; BEIS; the British Consulate General; the Climate Change Committee; Defra; the Health and Safety Executive; and Natural England.

For this conference, we expect speakers and further attendees to be an informed group including Members of the Scottish Parliament, senior officials from the Cabinet Office, Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and relevant Scottish Government Directorates, as well as regulators and other agencies, representatives from local authorities and local government, the higher education and further education sector, business organisations, infrastructure developers, consultancies, lawyers, community groups, together with reporters from the national and trade media based in Scotland and elsewhere.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Senior speaker confirmed from The Scottish Government

Professor Jim Skea

Chair, Just Transition Commission and Co-Chair, Working Group III (Mitigation), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


Gary Smith

Secretary, GMB Scotland

Marzia Zafar

Head of Customer Policy & Strategy, Kaluza

Hannah Smith

Director, Institute of Civil Engineers Scotland

Mike Tholen

Sustainability Director, OGUK

Dr Ian Archer

Technical Director, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)

Mary Church

Head of Campaigns, Friends of the Earth Scotland

Andrew Lyle

Chief Executive Officer, Locogen; Vice-Chair, Scottish Renewables; and member, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Cross-Party Group, Scottish Parliament

Adam McVey

City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Edinburgh City Council

Ruth Taylor

Climate Change Policy Manager, National Farmers Union Scotland

Professor Larissa Naylor

Professor of Geomorphology and Environmental Geography, School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow

Dr Andy Kerr

Director, UK and Ireland, EIT Climate-KIC