IN some respects, Scotland is doing well in meeting its targets on pollution and climate change. In June the Scottish Government announced that it had it hit the annual target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. There has also been considerable progress on renewables, which now meet more than half of Scotland’s electricity demand.

But tackling climate change requires more than government action – it requires profound change in the way that people behave day to day, and here too, there are some signs of hope. According to a new report from Transform Scotland, a major shift appears to be happening among people travelling between Scotland and London, with many more opting for the train over the plane. And there is good news on the roads too: after years of flat-lining figures, Scots would appear to be finally beginning to embrace electric cars, with an increase in registrations for 2017.

Precisely why so many people should be shifting from plane to train is hard to tell, but the trend is significant. Over the last ten years there has been a steady increase in the use of the railways to get to London, with train use for the journey rising from 20 per cent to 33 per cent of the market.

So why are people doing it? Partly, it is because flying has become a more difficult process than it was ten years ago due to the increased security measures at airports. But, slowly and at times painfully, the train services between London and Scotland have also been improving. The price is still uncompetitive compared to air fares, but with the new Azuma trains cutting rail journeys between London and Edinburgh to four hours, the time difference between the plane and the train is now much more competitive than it was.

The figures for electric cars also show change, albeit change confined to younger drivers. The latest figures show that 437 electric and hybrid vehicles were registered in Scotland last month compared to just 193 in the same month of 2016. However, a study by the AA also shows it is mostly younger people who are leading the way – middle-aged and older drivers appear to be less convinced and are particularly worried about a perceived lack of charging stations. But even so: the figures are going in the right direction.

The aim now should be to keep the trend going. The Scottish Government has already introduced a number of measures to encourage electric cars, including funding for interest-free loans, but other incentives may have to be introduced. The Government should also do more to promote the fact that Scotland has the most extensive network of charging stations in Europe.

On trains too, the trend away from planes will only continue with support. Government funding for rail has fallen to its lowest level since the start of the decade, but with investment, even more passengers could be encouraged to take the train. It may all look like a small improvement in the face of the giant problem of climate change. But, with encouragement, these are trends that can be built on.