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10/06/14 09:33

Scotland on track for 2020 climate target

26.4 per cent reduction since 1990.

Scotland remains on track to achieve its ambitious climate change target of a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

New climate change statistics for 2012 show that although Scotland has met its original target for 2012 in percentage terms with a 26.4 per cent reduction from 1990 compared to a 24.2 per cent reduction at the time the targets were set, Scotland missed the fixed annual target in terms of emissions in 2012.

This is because of improvements in measuring carbon emissions – not known in 2009 when the targets were set, or known in 2012 the year being measured. The Scottish Government welcome these measuring improvements but they have the effect of retrospectively making Scotland’s already ambitious targets more challenging. As a result the Scottish Government is taking action to ensure Scotland remains on track and will update Parliament in a statement this afternoon.

The longer term trend shows a substantial emissions reduction of 26.4 per cent since the 1990 baseline. Indicating that Scotland is on track to meet the statutory 42 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, which is prescribed under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act.

Commenting following the publication of the latest statistics, Scotland’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse said:

"Scotland has the world’s leading climate change targets. With a target of 42% by 2020 we are ahead of the UK at 34% and well ahead of the EU at 20%.

"Scotland chose to have stretching targets because we were aware of the scale of the challenge of climate change. And we should be proud of the efforts that have been made across society since the 2009 Climate Change Act.

"However since then we have also improved the method for calculating our greenhouse gas emissions. That was the right thing to do, but it now shows that the task is in fact even harder than Parliament and society realised in 2009.

"The Scottish Government has therefore put together a package of measures to demonstrate our resolve to meet future targets and ensure Scotland remains a world leader in this field, and I look forward to updating Parliament on this this afternoon.

"I am also delighted that Ministerial colleagues across Government are taking forward action on issues which help cut carbon emissions on areas such as energy efficiency, district heating, cycling infrastructure, electric vehicles and vehicle charging points and we will continue to take a cross-government approach on this issue.

"In its annual progress report earlier this year our independent climate change advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, acknowledged that good progress has been made in Scotland on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and, also noted that progress appears on track in most sectors.

"The Scottish Government’s second Report on Proposals and Policies, or RPP2, sets the strategic direction to take us to our interim target for 42%, and shows the annual markers along the way between now and 2027. And I am confident that with implementation of the package of policies and proposals set out in the RPP we remain on track to deliver the emissions reductions necessary to keep us on the right path towards meeting our long term target of 80% emissions reduction by 2050.”

Notes to editors

The target of 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is from a 1990 baseline (or 1995 for fluorinated gases).

Scotland’s 2012 target was 53.226 Mt. Our actual adjusted emissions were 55.6 Mt. The baseline change since the targets were set is 5.4 Mt – so, if the same percentage reduction (24.18%) was applied to the current baseline set out in the 2012 and the target was revised accordingly, then it would have been 57.312 MtCO2e. On this basis, the revised 2012 target would have been met with 1.647 MtCO2e to spare.

Historic emissions data have been significantly revised upwards in the years since the Climate Change Targets were set and these revisions contribute significantly to Scottish emissions being higher than the statutory target for 2012 under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act.

Source emissions have shown a reduction of 29.9 per cent since 1990, compared with 23.7 per cent for the UK as whole. This is better than the average for the EU-15 and the EU-28 countries as a whole, which saw reductions of 13.9 per cent and 18.5 per cent respectively.