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Scotland misses annual emissions targets again

This week saw the release of the latest greenhouse gas emissions figures. The statistics show that while there has been a 38.4% emissions cut since 1990, the annual target was missed by 1.7 MtCO2e.

The Scottish Government framed the statistics as showing that we are well on our way to meeting our 2020 target of a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels.

The press release said:

Scotland is more than three quarters of the way towards achieving its world-leading target of a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, with emissions falling 14 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

The latest climate change statistics show Scotland’s emissions have fallen to 49.7 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2013.

This is a reduction of 38.4 per cent from the 1990 baseline against which our targets are measured – far greater than the 31.7 per cent reduction that was anticipated when Scotland’s ambitious climate change legislation was passed in 2009.

Since the fixed annual targets were set, the baseline has been revised upwards by 10.6 MtCO2e due to technical changes in the way carbon emissions are measured, meaning Scotland missed its 2013 target by just 1.7 MtCO2e.

The figures published today also show that Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK as a whole, with a 34.3 per cent drop in Scottish source emissions between 1990 and 2013 compared to the UK’s 27.4 per cent reduction over the same period. Scotland is also one of the leading countries in Western Europe for reducing emissions.

Later today, the Scottish Government will announce a further package of climate change action encompassing energy, the environment and transport.

Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod said:

“Scotland is well on track to meet our ambitious emissions targets, 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.

“I look forward to updating Parliament this afternoon on the comprehensive action being taken by the Scottish Government to meet our world-leading climate change targets.

“Today’s figures also demonstrate 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.”



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