Climate Change Public Conversations Series

The Scottish Government initiated the Climate Conversations project to encourage discussion about climate change with the Scottish public.  To support this conversation ClimateXChange was asked to develop a framework,  including process design and methodology, for holding conversation on how Scotland can become a low carbon country, as well as highlighting the action people can take now to make this vision a reality. 

Together the outputs answer three main questions:

  • What is the most appropriate design for a replicable series of public conversations around climate change in Scotland?
  • What methodologies and materials should be used during the conversations to ensure objectives are achieved?
  • What are the key findings from pilot conversations with the public regarding: public knowledge of, attitudes towards and engagement with climate change; policies to address climate change; and the future transition to a sustainable low carbon society?

The project found that:

  • There is very little scepticism about climate change
  • People knew enough about climate change to be able to talk about different societal responses
  • You don’t need to be a climate expert to have a conversation about climate change
  • People really enjoyed taking part in the conversations

Scottish Government have further to the research project designed the ‘How to’ Guide’ as an accessible tool available to all groups, organisations and individuals to use in holding their own conversations.

The findings and guide to holding conversations, including how to record the findings, are presented in four publications:



Desk review

Explains the existing research base used to inform the design of the workshops, where materials and scripts were trialled with members of the Scottish public.

Findings from 
the workshops

Presents a summary of the findings from the workshops in which the contents of the draft ‘How to’ Guide were tested and further developed.

Framework for developing conversations

Provides background information on the development of the ‘How to’ Guide and offers guidance on capturing and analysing data from a one-off or series of conversations.

‘How to’ Guide

Provides a practical step-by-step guide to holding conversations about climate change with groups of people across Scotland, including materials to use. This is an accessible tool available to all groups, organisations and individuals wishing to hold their own conversations.

The research was conducted by Climate Outreach, working with consultants from the Surefoot Effect. Read more about Climate Outreach’s work on their website.