Our individual behaviours can affect climate change, as can the actions of business, communities and public bodies.
Please see the Greener Scotland website for advice and support in making Scotland a greener place to live.
The Greener Scotland website was launched in January 2012, following publication of the Low Carbon Scotland: Public Engagement Strategy (PES) in December 2010. The PES highlighted the following 10 key actions with potential to generate significant reductions in emissions:
The systems that heat our homes
Upgrading to modern A-rated condensing boilers could make a big difference to emissions and bills. In some areas, even greater savings could be achieved by installing microgeneration technologies, such as solar water heating, biomass boilers and heat pumps or participating in district heating schemes.
Keeping the heat in
Ensuring that insulation, draught proofing and double glazing helps reduce the amount of heat lost from homes meaning we could reduce the energy we need to use to heat them, and save money.
Managing home heating
Some of the greatest savings could be made by turning down heating and hot water thermostats and making sure heating is on only when it needs it to be. This would also save money.
Buying energy efficient appliances, lightbulbs, TVs and other products, when these need to be replaced, and using them as efficiently as possible (for example turning off lights, not leaving things on standby, filling up washing machines and dryers instead of running half loads) would help to tackle emissions from electricity consumption and reduce bills.
For free, impartial energy efficiency advice contact the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre.
Road transport accounts for 70% of all transport emissions. Active travel (walking and cycling) for short journeys is good for health, low cost, and low carbon. Where active travel isn't possible, public transport and/or car sharing offer lower carbon alternatives to driving.
Driving more efficiently
Using a fuel efficient, hybrid, alternative fuel or electric car can significantly reduce emissions: some best in class cars for fuel economy emit half the carbon of the worst cars in the same class and can save large amounts of money on fuel. Driving more efficiently by following 'eco-driving' principles also saves fuel and money.
Using alternatives to flying where practical
Planes are significant emitters of carbon. While flying may be the only practical choice for some journeys, there are often alternatives that are both practical and lower carbon - taking the train or teleconferencing for business, for example.
- For information on getting active, see the Take Life On website.
- For more information on travel choices, see the Sustrans website.
- For live travel news, journey planning, train times and more around Britain, see Transport Direct.
- For real time and future traffic information in Scotland, see the Traffic Scotland website.
Most of us say we don't like wasting food, but evidence suggests that two thirds of the food thrown away in Scotland could be avoided. Food waste is estimated to be equivalent to removing one in four cars from the road, so this is an issue that it is important to address.
Eating a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet, high in fruit and vegetables that are in season where we live - there is some dispute about the exact make-up of a low-carbon diet. What is clear is that food in season locally usually needs less energy for growing and transporting, that locally sourced fruit and vegetables have lower carbon footprints than most meat and processed foods, and that a healthy diet can help reduce carbon emissions from the food we eat.
For information on healthy eating, see the Take Life On website.
Reducing and Reusing, in addition to the efforts we already make on recycling. Production of goods and disposal of materials contributes directly to emissions.
The most sustainable option is to prevent waste being produced in the first place (for example avoiding over-packaged goods or choosing items that will last longer), and reusing or refurbishing products and materials so that they don't become waste.
Where waste is unavoidable, materials like cans, glass, paper and textiles can be recycled to make new products.