Scotland’s CO2 reduction largest on record as 2020 target remains on schedule


  Scotland has recorded the largest ever reduction of CO2 emissions according to official statistics published today.  Figures released show that greenhouse gas emissions fell by 9.9 per cent between 2010 and 2011.

The figures show that while Scotland met the original emissions target (53.404 million tonnes CO2e) for this year, due to a revision in the historical data in 2011 the updated target – which was been met in percentage terms – has been narrowly missed in carbon terms.

The new figures mean Scotland retains its position at the top of the EU15 countries for emissions reductions and on track to reach its 2020 target.

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.

Scotland’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul 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.”

The latest figures showed:

  • ‪Scotland 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.  The interim target by 2015 is 50 per cent (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 the Scottih Government’s 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
  • Woodland planting rate has increased 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
  • The Scottish Gvernment is 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.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

“This latest failure should be ringing alarm bells at the Scottish Government but instead ministers are showing breathtaking complacency.  To claim we’re on course to meet the target in 2020 is utter spin; the need to compensate for their failure will clearly make things harder.

“Last year the government buried the figures during the summer recess to avoid scrutiny.  Their lucklustre report on proposals and policies to address emissions must be updated and brought before parliament before summer recess at the end of this month.

“This government has failed to invest in the transport, energy and housing policies that would make a real difference.  Instead they’re blowing billions on bigger roads and they’re determed to prop up the fossil fuel industry.

It’s increasingly clear we won’t deliver on our climate change commitments unless we put Green policies at the heart of Scotland’s economic agenda.”

Responding to the figures, Scottish Labour environment spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “With around 40% of emissions coming from transport and housing then robust discussion must be taking place around the cabinet table.

“The Scottish government must now return to parliament before the summer recess to fully explain why this target was missed and what action they will take to get back on track.”