Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 April 2013
In view of the challenge posed by climate change and the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, The Royal Society of Edinburgh Inquiry (2011) examined the barriers making it difficult for Scotland to change to a low-carbon society. The single most important finding is that, whilst widely desired, change is held back by the lack of coherence and integration of policy at different levels of governance. There is activity at the level of the EU, UK Government, Scottish Government, local authorities, local communities, households and civil society, but there is often a disconnection between policies at different levels. This impedes progress and also leads to mistrust among the general public. This paper brings together the background to ten primary recommendations featured in the Inquiry addressing the principal barriers. Above all, it is important to integrate the activities within city regions and to exploit opportunities in local communities. Reflecting on the Inquiry findings, we stress the economic, social and environmental opportunities to be gained from a low-carbon society and outline the step changes that need to take place within governance, city regions and local authorities and civil society.