Scotland leads on reducing CO2, but must cut more

26th March 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Local government ,
  • Energy ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Conventional ,
  • Generation

Author

Kevin Davies

Scotland is reducing CO2 emissions at a higher rate than the rest of the UK, but carbon saving measures need to be ramped up to meet long-term targets, says CCC

In its third annual report on the devolved government’s efforts to meet carbon reduction targets, the independent committee on climate change (CCC) praised the success of the Scottish government in cutting annual emissions by 9.9% in 2011 – far outstripping the UK as a whole, which cut CO2 output by just 6.9%.

While the CCC reports that a significant proportion of the reduction was due to warmer weather, it also highlighted improvements in Scotland’s energy sector, which resulted in emissions falling by 20% year-on-year as coal-fired electricity generation fell by 27% and electricity from renewables, particularly wind and hydropower increased 44%.

Despite what the CCC describes as “good progress” in reducing emissions, Scotland’s total CO2 output was 1.5% higher than its target for 2011 – 53.4 million tonnes CO2e. The CCC confirms that the target was missed because methods used to calculate national carbon emissions have improved since the target was set. The committee recommends that the Scottish government consider revising its future emissions targets in light of the changes to calculation methods.

Although, the CCC maintains that most sectors in Scotland are “on track” to meet the country’s long-term target of a 42% cut on 1990 levels by 2020, it warns that achieving a reduction of this scale will be “very challenging, and require further action”.

In particular, the CCC urges Scotland’s policymakers to take action to tackle the decline in the installation of energy efficiency measures in residential properties since the introduction of the Energy Company Obligation, and suggests that it may have to increase funding to support higher levels of insulation, for example.

It also warns the country will not meet its 2020 target of 11% of heat sourced from renewables unless more projects come online, and concludes that Scottish authorities must do more to leverage the funds available through the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Other recommendations include: supporting the development of an electric vehicle charging network; scaling up land-use pilot projects that offer carbon sequestration opportunities, such as restoring peatlands; and ensuring support for the renewable electricity sector.

“There has been good progress in Scotland on reducing emissions in key sectors of the economy, notably through investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency,” commented David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC. “But much remains to be done in terms of policy development and implementation to achieve very challenging future targets.”

Responding to the CCC report, climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “In 2011, Scotland led western Europe in terms of reducing our climate change emissions and the committee’s analysis of underlying trends in emissions indicates we remain on track to achieving our long term climate change targets.

“Scotland’s climate change targets are challenging, as they should be given the global impact of climate change. I note the committee's advice regarding the impact of revisions to the Scottish greenhouse gas inventory data for 2011 and subsequent years, and will closely examine both options identified to address the challenge this has created.”

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Is the sea big enough?

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Tom Harris examines the supply chain constraints facing the growing number of interconnector projects

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker has found broad support for efforts to tackle climate change, although there are significant concerns that bills will rise.

13th March 2024

Read more

A consortium including IEMA and the Good Homes Alliance have drafted a letter to UK government ministers expressing disappointment with the proposed Future Homes Standard.

26th February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Three-quarters of UK adults are concerned about the impact that climate change will have on their bills, according to polling commissioned by Positive Money.

13th February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close