Rise in Scottish emissions in 2012

24th March 2015

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Alison Davis

Economic growth pushed greenhouse-gas emissions from private companies and public sector organisation in Scotland up by 0.6% rise in 2012, according to the UK government's climate change advisor.

In its fourth report on Scotland's progress towards its climate targets, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) praised the country for its good progress towards emission reduction in a number of areas, which it says is often ahead of other parts of the UK.

However, it recommended that the Scottish government investigate new ways to reduce emissions beyond current policies, since future targets remain "very challenging".

The committee's data shows that emissions from business and industry were 8.5 MtCo2e in 2012, accounting for 14% of total emissions in Scotland. Between 1990 and 2012, emissions fell by 37%, but they increased by 0.6% between 2011 and 2012, largely due economic growth.

Emissions from the public sector in 2012 were 1.4 MtCO2e, equivalent to 2% of Scotland's total. These emissions rose by 4% in 2012 due to an increase in demand for heating, but were 18% below 1990 levels, the CCC said.

However, the Scottish civil estate and parliament made progress in 2013 by reducing its emissions by 12% compared to a year earlier, the CCC found. It has mainly achieved this through reducing electricity and gas consumed in the parliament building, and through a reduction in the carbon intensity of the grid, the CCC said.

The government has set a target to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020, compared with 2005/6 levels, and has already met the majority of its intermediate targets for 2014/15, according to the CCC. The committee reports that Scotland missed its target to emit no more than 55.67 Mt CO2e in 2012. Emissions were 2.8 Mt CO2e or 4.5% higher than the target.

There have been a series of changes to the method of calculating estimated emissions in the Scottish greenhouse-gas inventory since 2008 that have added a cumulative 5.4 MtCO2e to baseline emissions, the CCC said. Without these changes, Scotland would likely have met its target, the committee believes.

The CCC highlighted good progress on renewables, which met 11.6% of energy demand in Scotland in 2012. Scotland is over a third of the way to achieving its target to meet 30% of energy demand from renewables by 2020.

This target will be met if final energy consumption has reduced by 12% relative to the average in 2005-07 and all renewable electricity and heat projects that currently have planning permission are built, the CCC said.

Matthew Bell, chief executive of the CCC, said: "I have met with a large number of stakeholders in Scotland over recent months. Without exception, they have commented positively on the ambition of the Scottish greenhouse gas reduction targets. That ambition means they are difficult to meet but also places Scotland among the leaders in the world."

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