We welcome the Scottish Government’s 'Climate Change Plan: Third Report on Proposals and Policies' for meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets 2018-2032. The plan takes into account the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and is informed by detailed evidence reviews. These highlight the importance of understanding the potential wider impacts of climate change mitigation options.  

Commenting on the plan, Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Public Health Science, said:

 “We particularly welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition of the co-benefits to public health alongside the environmental benefits. Actions to reduce greenhouse gas emission across sectors are opportunities to improve the health of the Scottish population. For example active travel and improving home insulation can have important physical and mental health benefits. These are initiatives that the public health community will support, along with the leadership role we have in addressing the impacts of climate change on population health, and in safeguarding against the deepening of health inequalities.”

The public health community in Scotland has a significant role in leading and supporting action across sectors to realise the co-benefits for public health that actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can bring, in addition to leading the way in reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions within the health sector. The Scottish Managed Sustainable Health Network (SMaSH) is already providing leadership in this area, together with NHS Health Scotland. It brings together public health specialists with expertise in sustainability and is part of the Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN).

The Climate Change Plan is part of the strategic framework for creating a greener, fairer and healthier Scotland and links to our own Strategic Framework for Action 2017-22.