Compulsory lessons on climate change should be taught in all Scotland's primary and secondary schools, according to a report published today for a Holyrood body.

The call for new classes was the top recommendation of 18 listed by a public panel set up by the Scottish Parliament's net zero committee. It will present its findings to MSPs next Tuesday.

All 23 members of the panel agreed to the compulsory climate change classes for school children.

Under the heading 'young people' the report noted it was an unanimous recommendation.

"There needs to be within the curriculum climate change as a compulsory subject from primary and into high school and children should be involved in developing this," it said.

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"So that all children are made aware, have the opportunity to engage and talk to, influence their parents and help change within the home and at a local level.

"Because this is only currently optional - it would ensure that all pupils gain a basic understanding of climate change, energy production, global concerns and green job opportunities."

The report also called for improved communication from the Scottish Government on climate change saying it needed "an accountable and transparent action plan". 

It noted: "Communication needs to be adapted to different demographics. Any policy or strategy should be short and simple and understandable. 

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"So that all people can understand the message but hear messages that are tailored 
to their demographic and the actions they can take."

The report argued that too often "policy documents are too long, full of jargon and difficult to understand". 

It also noted: "Some actions are only relevant to some people/demographics (eg heat pumps: landlords and owners; fast fashion: young people)."

The 23 members of the public were selected at random and came together at Holyrood to form the Climate Change's People's Panel.

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The panel aims to support Holyrood's net zero, energy and transport committee in its post-legislative scrutiny of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which states the Scottish Government must review a public engagement strategy for climate change periodically.

The report said the Scottish Government "could be more ambitious, delivering a positive narrative and enabling Scotland to set a standard of excellence", arguing it has not communicated with the public effectively enough on climate change.

The panel said "collaboration with expert local and community-led organisations is key", and there is an "inconsistency in communication, education, evaluation, the allocation of funding and, ultimately, that there is an action gap across Scotland".

Panellist Kevin Roarty, who is an analyst programmer from Paisley, said: "This has been a fantastic experience but at the heart of it all is the most serious topic.

"We felt that there needs to be more truth and honesty from the Scottish Government about the scale of the challenge, and that creating a more compelling vision of the better world we're all aiming for would help.

"We hope the committee will accept our recommendations as positive, concrete actions that must be taken forward and that our efforts will make a positive difference to national engagement on climate issues."

In the report, panellists also unanimously recommended, for example, that:
- Robust, timely and longer-term funding (minimum three to five years) should be provided to help expand and adequately resource climate hubs.
- There needs to be a legal obligation on all local authorities to co-create local climate policy, supported by funding from the Scottish Government.

Conservative MSP Edward Mountain, convener of the net zero committee, said: "This report identifies the need for the Scottish Government to lead from the front to bring governments, business and the public together in a mutual understanding of the shared challenge we all face and the actions that need to be taken to effect change.

"Just last month the Climate Change Committee said that Scotland's 2030 climate goals are no longer credible.

"Collaboration on all levels of society will be essential to help drive action forward.
"We look forward to taking evidence from the panellists during next week's committee meeting and exploring their findings further with them".

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan said: “It is vital that people understand the nature and scale of the climate emergency, know how they can take action and help shape decisions, which is why the Scottish Government continues to put public engagement at the centre of our climate action.

“I would like to thank the People’s Panel for their collective statement and we will now carefully consider the recommendations.”