The Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) has responded to the Scottish Parliament’s joint call for evidence as part of its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s third draft Climate Change Plan.
The CFU is pleased to have had the opportunity to comment on Scottish Ministers’ plans for meeting Scotland’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. In responding to the Scottish Parliament’s joint call for evidence we have limited our comments to areas of the draft plan that are directly relevant to our remit.
In this publication we present our written evidence to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee. Our evidence to the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is available separately and can be downloaded below.
The draft CCP has clearly set out the Scottish Government’s vision for a low carbon Scotland and the overarching framework for achieving emissions reduction targets.
Much of the progress to date in reducing Scotland’s emissions derives from changes in the power generation sector. Achieving further significant progress will need innovative approaches to be developed in areas that require active consumer involvement.
In relation to costs, there is insufficient detail to judge the impact on consumers. The significant increase in investment required to achieve the ambitions in the plan must be carefully handled to ensure consumers are not overburdened. Financial support or incentives will be required to achieve the proposed paradigm shift in domestic heating by 2032.
Consumer engagement will be critical to efforts to meet the goals set out in the draft CCP, yet the plan doesn’t adequately account for the role of consumer behaviour in meeting its targets. A detailed account of additional consumer benefits flowing from the measures proposed would be helpful, as it is similar benefits that have previously motivated consumers to install energy efficiency measures in their homes.
The contribution that reductions in domestic energy use can make to carbon abatement, through demand side response and smart meters, is not straightforward, with difficulties in relation to consumer engagement and predicting behavioural responses. Reducing energy used to heat water, as well as reducing water consumption general, will be important with strong consumer messaging required, but the draft CCP lacks sufficient detail on this area.
We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to developing a monitoring and evaluation framework, but note that the final plan must take account of the potentially complex outcomes of energy efficiency programmes, such as ‘rebound effects’, which are rarely considered in any comprehensive manner.