Climate change action heats up
Government steps up action across energy, environment & transport.
Reducing energy bills and fighting fuel poverty will be at the heart of the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle climate change as Ministers announced a comprehensive new package of measures covering transport, environment and energy.
Heat accounts for approximately half of Scotland’s emissions and over 55 per cent of energy demand – and in a statement to the Scottish Parliament Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod has announced that improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes and non-domestic building stock will be designated a National Infrastructure Priority.
Following a visit to a housing energy efficiency project in Dumbiedykes in Edinburgh, Dr McLeod revealed that Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme will be the cornerstone of the National Infrastructure Priority. This new programme will provide an offer of support to all buildings in Scotland – domestic and non-domestic – to help them achieve a good energy efficiency rating over the next 15-20 years.
It will also use new powers – due to be devolved in the Scotland Bill - to determine how supplier obligations in relation to energy efficiency and fuel poverty can be better designed to better suit Scottish circumstances, as well as levering in private sector investment.
The announcement follows the publication of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2013 which show that Scotland is on track to meet its 42 per cent emissions reduction target ahead of schedule.
The Minister said:
“Heating and cooling our homes and businesses costs £2.6 billion a year and accounts for approximately half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency is clearly key to meeting our ambitious climate change targets which is why action on energy is a key focus as the Scottish Government step up our action on climate change.
“There is no silver bullet to tackling climate change which is why we are building on previous actions and announcing a comprehensive package of measures across a range of sectors.
“We are already making good progress and since 2008, nearly one in three households have installed energy efficiency measures to benefit from warmer homes and lower energy bills.
“The Scottish Government has already increased investment in domestic energy efficiency – from £99 million last year to £119 million this year. And since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency programmes.
“But we must do more to meet Scotland’s world-leading and ambitious climate change targets. That is why I am today announcing that improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s buildings will be designated a National Infrastructure priority.”
In her update to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s progress tackling climate change, Dr McLeod announced a number of further, additional measures to tackle climate change including:
- Innovative flaring technology which removed the equivalent of more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide - roughly equal to 13,889 passengers making return flights between Edinburgh and New York – from two landfill sites in the Borders is to be rolled out to two further sites in Glasgow and East Lothian, backed by £500,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- Action to divert food waste from landfill is being accelerated, with an additional £5 million over two years to help those local authorities who have yet to roll out food waste collections.
- Peatland restoration will benefit from a further £3 million this year. This is in addition to the £10 million already available under the new Scottish Rural Development Programme.
- A multi-annual commitment to sustainable and active travel, including the launch of a second Future Transport Fund, and continuing support for associated initiatives such as low carbon buses and Smarter Choices Smarter Places.
- The relaunch of a policy to tackle the school run – a significant cause of congestion, localised air pollution and contributor to inactive lifestyles – which will be based on the results of an investigation into existing school transport choices and what influences them.
- Modelling is being commissioned to support the development of a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) pilot project in partnership with a local authority, where any vehicles which do not meet the required standard are restricted or deterred from entering the Zone.
- Compulsory soil testing on all improved agricultural land and new action to reduce wastage by improving livestock health
- A final heat policy statement will be published this week setting out our approach to decarbonisation of heat and a framework for investment in the heat sector to 2050 - another component of a comprehensive approach to energy in Scotland.
Dr McLeod added:
“Scotland is on track to meet our ambitious emissions targets ahead of schedule, with these latest figures for 2013 showing we are more than three quarters of the way there with seven years still to go.
“Our emissions have fallen by 38.4 per cent from the 1990 baseline, outperforming the original 31.7 per cent reduction that was required to meet the 2013 annual fixed target.
“Today’s figures show that if it had not been for successive increases to the baseline since the targets were established, Scotland would have met, and exceeded, our target for this year - and the three previous years too.
“Of course, if our targets were easy to achieve they would not be ambitious enough. And these are the level the international community needs to meet if the international climate treaty to be agreed in Paris later this year is to stand a good chance of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
“As negotiations continue this week to agree the text of that treaty, the Scottish Government stands firm in our commitment to tackling climate change – as demonstrated by these further measures I have outlined to Parliament today.
“The figures published today also highlight how significantly Scotland’s progress depends on the policies and actions of others – especially the UK and EU. In the run up to Paris, I will continue to press the international community to look to Scotland and follow our example in striving for the highest global ambition to tackle climate change.”
Official Statistics: Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2013 can be accessed via: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/06/1939
For reporting progress against Scotland’s Climate Change Targets, Scottish greenhouse gas emissions are adjusted for trading in the EU Emissions Trading System. On this basis, Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions were 49.7 MtCO2e. This is 38.4 per cent lower than in the Baseline Period. The Baseline Period is 1990 for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and 1995 for the F gases (hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride)
On a source basis, Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions were 53.0 MtCO2e in 2013. This is 34.3 per cent lower than in 1990. This figure can be used for estimating changes in emissions by sector and for UK comparisons.