East Lothian Council and the climate change emergency

Every action matters when we are tackling the climate emergency. We are committed to mitigate the greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere, to adapt to the new climate we are inevitable facing, and to act in the way we consider most sustainable. We are working in partnership with communities, local groups and national bodies to achieve this.

Learn more about the actions we are taking and how you can be a part of tackling the climate emergency too:

  • Net Zero Scotland - the Scottish Government’s website for how we make Scotland net zero by 2045
  • Adaptation Scotland - supporting communities, businesses and the public sector to prepare and become resilient to the effects of climate change
  • Sustainable Scotland Network - Scotland’s public sector network on sustainability and climate change, East Lothian Council is a member and engages regularly with the network

What can I do to tackle climate change?

Community support

Community action is key to tackling the climate emergency. Find support for community groups to identify the actions you can take.

  • find your local sustainable community group
  • travel
  • consumption and waste
  • nature and biodiversity
  • food
  • energy
  • calculate your carbon footprint

Find out more and get involved

Cyclists on a cycleway at Whitesands
father and son vegetable gardening raised beds

What we are doing to tackle the climate emergency

East Lothian Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. This means that we acknowledge the urgency of action and do what we can to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere, adapt to the changing climate and act in a way considered most sustainable across all Council services.

Our commitments:

  • annual climate change reporting to the Scottish Governmenton our journey to net zero:read our reports or download the reports in Excel file format on the Sustainable Scotland Network
  • our Climate Change Strategy (2020-2025) and Action Plan - this is updated annually and includes actions on mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity and more - read our Strategy and Action Plan 
  • quarterly meetings of our Climate Change Planning and Monitoring Group - a coordinated and whole-council response to the climate emergency
  • forming a Climate Change and Sustainability Forum - elected members from all parties working together to accelerate action towards a net zero council


biodiversity = Biodiversity is the variety among all living things - animals, insects, plants, marine life etc. Biodiversity is necessary for us to live - the more variety of living things, the better.

climate change = Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, have led to a change in climate. Burning of fossil fuel and other activities releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is leading to a greenhouse effect warming effect and causing the climate to change. Note that a changed climate persists over a longer period of time and does not refer to individual weather events.

climate change adaptation =  Solely reducing the greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere is not enough to halt climate change. Climate change is happening now and we need to adjust and prepare our natural and human systems to adapt to the effects of climate change. Impacts of the new climate include: extreme weather patterns, flooding, droughts, spread of disease and invasive species, and changes in agricultural productivity. It is important we adapt to the new climate while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

climate justice =  The climate emergency needs to be addressed through a human rights lens. Climate justice highlights the need for just division, fair and equitable distribution of the benefits, burdens and responsibilities that are required to deal with climate change.

climate resilience = The capacity of social, economic and ecosystems to prepare for, recover from and adapt to impacts of climate change.