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National Indicator: Carbon Footprint

 Reduce Scotland's carbon footprint

Indicator Measure
Greenhouse gas footprint in million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

Current Status
Scotland’s carbon footprint in 2012 was 76.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). This is 5% higher than the 2011 figure (72.9 MtCO2e) and 16% lower than the 2006 baseline figure (91.4 MtCO2e).

Reduce Scotland's carbon footprint chart

Source: Scottish Government
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 18 March 2015
Next Update: March 2017

Reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Scotland's 'carbon' footprint measures all greenhouse gas emissions (expressed in 'carbon dioxide equivalents') generated at home and abroad in the production and transport of the goods and services that we consume. This footprint gives us a robust overall measure of the global impact of our everyday choices. We want Scotland to be a leading nation in sustainable living, reducing the impact we have on both our local and global environment. Our current consumption patterns are unsustainable, with growing demands on the world's resources and its impact on our environment.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Many factors influence this indicator; to reduce our carbon footprint we must reduce our waste, energy and transport use and consume food and other materials more sustainably. The crucial first step is a change in our behaviour.

What is the Government's role?

Government needs to work to make sustainable choices in our daily lives easier and to raise public awareness of the impacts of our current consumption patterns. We aim to do a lot more - through taking a lead in sustainable procurement, by reducing waste and increasing recycling and composting of that waste that is created, increasing energy from renewable sources, supporting organisations and households to use energy more efficiently and taking a range of actions to tackle climate change.

How are we performing?

There has been an overall reduction in Scotland’s carbon footprint since a peak in 2007 when it was 94.3 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). The latest figure, for 2012, is 76.8 MtCO2e.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference within 3 percent of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 3 percent or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 3 percent or more suggests the position is worsening. This methodology might need to be reviewed in the future as more data point become available.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

A wide range of public sector bodies are key to delivering a reduced footprint across public services particularly around reducing waste, offering more sustainable energy and transport, improving energy efficiency and making more sustainable choices easier.

Related Strategic Objectives

Safer and Stronger


View National Indicator Data

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Title:Reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint
Description:Reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint
File:Reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint [XLSX, 19.5 kb: 14 Mar 2016]
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