Climate Action Summit 2023

Holyrood’s Climate Action Summit 2023 will take place at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh 8-9 November, with the ever-popular Climate Action Awards and ceilidh on the evening of 8 November.

The Scottish Government has legally binding, ambitious targets in place to meet net zero by 2045. However, a recent progress report to Parliament by the Climate Change Committee claimed that Scotland had lost its lead over the rest of the UK and Europe on tackling climate change.

Holyrood’s solutions-based, forward-thinking Climate Action Summit 2023 will consider what practical steps need to be taken now if Scotland is to achieve both its net zero and nature restoration targets.

The event will take place following the consultation on the Scottish Government’s Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, and publication of draft Just Transition Plans for Buildings and Construction, Land Use and Agriculture and Transport. It will also coincide with their forthcoming Climate Change Plan, expected at the end of 2023, and explore topics including:

  • Housing
  • Agriculture and the rural economy
  • Transport
  • Enablers such as skills, leadership, and funding

Join us in November to hear the latest policy updates, examples of best practice and network with public, private and third sector colleagues working within the climate action space.

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Richard Baldwin
Head of Environment and Consents
SSE plc
Nigel Topping CMG
Member and Business Champion
Climate Change Committee
Lesley McNeil
Head of External and Corporate Affairs
Muirhall Energy
Josiah Lockhart
Chief Executive
Sydney Henderson
Communications and Involvement Manager
Cairngorms Connect
Rachel Kyte
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Practice
The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Katherine Trebeck
Edinburgh Futures Institute
Prof. Mariana Mazzucato
Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value
University College London
Ian Aikman
Chief Planning & Housing Officer
Scottish Borders Council
John Lamont MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Scotland Office)
Dr. May East
International Urbanist
Sue Kearns
Deputy Director, Heat in Buildings
Scottish Government
Alison Irvine
Interim Chief Executive
Transport Scotland
Sarah Boyd
Managing Director
Lothian Buses
Emma Harvey-Smith
Programme Director, Built Environment
Green Finance Institute
Andrew Kerr
Chief Executive
City of Edinburgh Council
Denise Walton
Chair (Scotland)
Nature Friendly Farming Network
Alison Stuart
Hub Manager
Edward Mountain MSP
Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee
Fiona Simpson
Chief Planner
Scottish Government
Finlay Carson MSP
Convener, Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee
The Scottish Parliament
Dr Martin Valenti
Director of Net Zero
South of Scotland Enterprise
Màiri McAllan MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition
Scottish Government
Prof. Jim Skea
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Andrew Smith
Greenbackers Investment Capital
Sarah Boyack MSP
Scottish Labour’s Spokesperson on Net Zero, Energy and Just Transition
The Scottish Parliament
Sandy Begbie CBE
Chief Executive
Scottish Financial Enterprise
Irene Beautyman
Place and Wellbeing Partnership Lead
Public Health Scotland and the Improvement Service

Recent expert assessments on Scotland’s progress towards Net Zero by the Climate Change Committee (CCC), Audit Scotland and the Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) make for stark reading. According to the reports, Scotland missed seven out of its 11 targets to reduce emissions by 75% by 2023, progress is stalling, and the country risks losing credibility as a climate leader.


The new Climate Change Plan should address many of the issues, but will it go for enough to get Scotland back on track? What should be the priorities now to drive change at the pace required? Given the scale of the challenge, better coordination across all areas of government will be needed, as well as building on the vital role that public-private partnerships can play in accelerating change.


In this session, we will discuss how we can unlock barriers to faster action, and the role partnerships are increasingly playing in driving change and improving outcomes.

The built environment is one of the areas where rapid change is most needed for Scotland’s 2030 and 2045 targets to be met. Attaining the target reduction of emissions from buildings by 70% compared to 2020 levels by 2030 will require deployment of energy efficiency measures and installation of low-carbon heating at a rate considerably beyond what has been achieved to date.


Barriers to effective action are sizable – from a scarcity of installers with necessary skills, over reliance on market-based approaches to drive uptake of low-carbon heat pumps, public concerns regarding affordability, and a dearth of consumer financing options.


In this session, we will hear how action towards decarbonising buildings can be accelerated and explore the vital role that cities, towns and communities are playing in driving change, strengthening biodiversity, and enabling adaptation through transformative approaches to their built environment.

Scotland has ambitious targets in place to decarbonise transport, including a headline target to reduce overall emissions from the sector by 53%, and a decline in car-kilometres by 20% relative to 2019 levels by 2030.


Delivering on these ambitions requires effective policy to both drive rapid uptake of zero-emissions vehicles and enable citizens to reduce their use of high-carbon modes of transport. Plans to achieve these objectives, in the shape of readily available and user-friendly EV charging, and a shift to alternative public transport options will need to be accelerate. Innovations such as 20-minute neighbourhoods and driverless vehicles, meanwhile, are also making inroads across Scotland’s towns and cities.


In this session, we will examine the extent to which Scotland’s sector pathway for transport will address current target transport emission shortfalls, and the learnings and insights from successful emission reduction projects across the country that could have national impact.

The CCCu sets out a target to reduce emissions in the agricultural sector by around 28% between 2020 and 2030. The upcoming Agricultural Bill will further underpin Scotland’s vision for the sector, and the support schemes to address the key pillars of food, nature and climate.


Delivering on the emissions reductions pathway depends on a combination of transitioning to low-carbon farming measures, transforming our food system and diets, as well as strengthening carbon sinks through woodland creation and peatland restoration. Finding ways to incentive and reward investments in climate adaptation will also play a role.



In this session, we will review the impact the Agricultural, Land Use and Good Food Nation Bills will have in transforming Scotland’s rural economy. We will also hear from farmers and project leaders on the ground on how they are juggling the sometimes-conflicting tasks of reducing emissions, restoring nature and supporting food production.

Planning systems that are too complex, bureaucratic, and slow can have a chilling impact on climate investment and are at odds with net zero goals.


Scotland’s National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) encapsulates Scotland’s response to this challenge, requiring a ‘place-based’ consideration of climate, nature and adaptation impacts in all planning decision making.


In this session, we will discuss whether NPF4 will lead to the ’fairer, greener Scotland’, turbocharging the build out of green infrastructure. We will also explore how planners are grappling with the new regime against a background of sometimes competing priorities and diminished resources.

A circular approach to our economy, where we move from a ‘take, make and dispose’ model to one where we keep materials in use is imperative if we are to tackle the climate and nature crisis.


Despite early headway, Scotland has fallen behind in its waste and recycling targets, including its ambition to recycle 70% of waste by 2025. Much more needs to be done if targets are to be met.


In this session we will discuss the impact of the Circular Economy Bill and the challenges of implementation. We will also highlight the many innovative examples of local efforts and community partnerships from across Scotland and internationally with the potential to transform our throwaway culture.

The investment required to deliver Scotland’s ambitious 2045 Net Zero target is far beyond the reach of the public purse. To take just one example, decarbonisation of heat in buildings carries an estimated price tag of more than £30bn. The Scottish Government funds allocated for this work is £1.8bn.


There is, however, a vast amount of capital available for the right opportunities, and the challenge for Scotland is to find ways to ‘crowd in’ this capital, leveraging limited public sector fund to maximise total investment, while also protecting public assets and priorities.


In this session we will discuss how Scotland can ensure it remains an attractive destination for climate and energy investment in an increasingly competitive global market for green capital, how we can drive investment towards adaptation and nature positive investments, and how partnerships between private and public finance are key to investment success.

Breakout A - Securing Investment in Climate/Nature Solutions

Breakout B - The Role of Digital in Delivering Net Zero

Breakout C - Engaging the Public in Climate Action

Breakout A - Securing Investment in Climate/Nature Solutions

Breakout B - The Role of Digital in Delivering Net Zero

Breakout C - Engaging the Public in Climate Action

Scotland has long enjoyed its reputation as a renewable energy powerhouse. The country has enviable resources for the development of, hydroelectric, onshore and offshore wind, solar, wave and tidal renewable energy, and is home to the world’s first leasing round for floating offshore wind. Scotland is also making inroads into bulk energy storage, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) markets that are widely hailed as the energy markets of the future.



However, with keen international competition, can Scotland lead in these future industries? How will measures announced as part of US $370bn IRA stimulus, and the EUs support package in response, change the trajectory? Will Scotland be left behind as investment leaves for overseas shores? Can Scotland move beyond deployment to become industrial powerhouse for carbon removal, and green hydrogen industries?



In this concluding session we will discuss how Scotland can successfully harness the momentous opportunities the transition to net zero affords

Find out more about our expert Climate Action Steering Group here.

Single Day
Public and Third Sector

Public sector/voluntary/charitable

£50 + VAT

Includes on demand access

Both Days
Public and Third Sector

Public sector/voluntary/charitable

£75 + VAT

Includes on demand access

Single Day
Private Sector

Commercial e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP

£95 + VAT

Includes on demand access

Both Days
Private Sector

Commercial e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP

£142.50 + VAT

Includes on demand access

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