Scottish public sector supports mandatory climate change reporting

30th September 2015

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  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Management


Richard Meddings

Most public sector organisations have backed plans by the Scottish government to introduce mandatory reporting on climate change.

Consultation on the draft Climate Change (Reporting on Climate Change Duties) (Scotland) Order 2015 ended in May and the government says 47 of the 51 organisations responding expressed support for mandatory reporting. Thirty-five responses were from organisations defined as "major players", such as councils and NHS bodies, which would be required to report.

Mandatory reporting rules will apply to around 150 organisations and replace existing voluntary measures. Other public bodies will be asked to continue to report voluntarily. The Scottish government hopes annual reporting will improve the quality and consistency of data, and, by making the information public, assist Scotland to get back on track to meeting its annual carbon reduction targets.

The Scottish Climate Change Act 2009 set a target to reduce Scotland's emissions of greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050, and established an interim target for 2020 of at least a 42% reduction. Secondary legislation has set annual targets, but Scotland has failed to meet these for four years, with the most recent figures in June revealing that, in 2013, the country emitted 53 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (mtCO2e) against a target of 48 mtCO2e.

Although direct emissions from the public sector contribute a relatively low proportion of Scotland's carbon emissions, many respondents agreed that the sector could influence indirect emissions through, for example, the use of regulatory functions.

Under the proposals, eligible bodies would have to produce an annual climate change report for the previous financial year. The deadline proposed for the first annual report (April 2015 to March 2016) is the end of October 2016.


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