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Scotland leads Europe on climate change stats

07/06/2013

Official figures show Scotland is on track to achieve its 2020 target on climate change emissions.

Scotland's Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse today highlighted the downward trajectory of emissions as he unveiled the latest statistics which show a 9.9 per cent year on year reduction on unadjusted emissions – the largest reduction on record - and good progress being made across a range of sectors. Scotland is now more than halfway to achieving our 2020 target.

The figures also mean Scotland retains its position at the top of the EU15 countries for emissions reductions. Between 1990-2011, Scotland’s emissions reduction of 29.6 per cent is the largest of the EU-15 Member States, and higher than the EU-27 Member States average of 17.1 per cent, when emissions from international aviation and shipping and land use, land use change and forestry sectors are factored in.

The figures also show that while Scotland met our original emissions target for this year, due to a revision in the historical data in 2011 the updated target has been narrowly missed in carbon terms - by only 0.8 MtCO2e – but has been met in percentage terms.  Revisions to the historical data used to set the targets in 2009 have made each annual target more challenging and overall mean that to meet the target of 42 per cent reduction by 2020 – to 40.717 MTCO2e - Scotland now has to reduce its emissions by over 44 per cent.

Mr Wheelhouse said:

‪“Latest statistics published today show that Scotland is on course to meet our climate change targets. 

“In 2011 unadjusted emissions fell by 9.9 per cent – the largest year-on-year drop since records began. They also show large decreases in greenhouse gas emissions in the energy supply, residential and public sectors.

“The long term trend shows we will achieve our world-leading target of a 42 per cent emissions reduction if we continue on the course we have set. I also welcome that Scotland continues to lead the EU15 on emissions reductions.

“Despite changes to the historical data on emissions, making this year’s target harder to achieve, we have come within touching distance of it, and the revised targets mean we will all need to focus our efforts in the future to stay on course.

"Whilst I am disappointed we have not achieved our climate change reduction goal for 2011 in carbon terms, we have met it in percentage terms – with a 25.7 per cent reduction between 1990 and 2011. If the baseline had not changed the target would also have been met in carbon terms.”

Significant progress made on our continuing action to tackle climate change includes the following:

  • ‪We are ahead of schedule on renewables targets.  Provisional data (published 28 March) showed that almost 39 per cent (38.7 per cent) of Scotland’s electricity needs came from renewables in 2012.  This is well on the way to our new interim target of 50 per cent by 2015 (100 per cent target for 2020)
  • By 2011, 65 per cent of homes achieved a good energy efficiency rating, up from 50 per cent in 2007
  • Planned spending through our Home Energy Efficiency Programmes is in line with the Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee’s recommendation £200 million a year from Government and energy companies
  • Our action has increased the woodland planting rate to around 9,000 hectares in 2011-12.  This is 18 million trees a year from 2011-12, moving to 20 million trees a year from 2015 onwards
  • ‪We are phasing out biodegradable waste going to landfill by 2020, the first such ban in the UK
  • By 2015, £68 million from our Climate Challenge Fund will have gone to Scottish communities

The Scottish Government plans to lay before Parliament its second report on proposals and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions prior to the Summer recess, providing a suitable Parliamentary slot can be found. This will outline how the ambitious targets can be met well into the next decade. We will continue to seek additional innovative ways to address climate change and drive down emissions.

Scotland’s (unadjusted) greenhouse gas emissions for 2011 were 51.3 MtCO2e. This is 9.9 per cent lower than the 2010 figure of 56.9 MtCO2e, a 5.6 MtCO2e reduction. Between 1990 and 2011, there was a 29.6 per cent reduction in emissions.

‪When emissions are adjusted to take account of trading in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) emissions fell by 2.9 per cent between 2010 and 2011. Compared with the 1990 base year adjusted emissions were 25.7 per cent lower in 2011.

‪The historical series for emissions has also been substantially revised upwards, due to methodological changes and new data. This upward revision contributes to Scottish emissions being higher than the statutory target for 2011 under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Related information

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2011