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Purpose Target: Sustainability

 To reduce emissions by 42% by 2020

 To reduce emissions by 80% by 2050

Current Status

In 2015, Scottish greenhouse gas emissions (including international aviation and shipping) and adjusted to take account of trading in the EU Emissions Trading System, were 45.504 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The Sustainability Purpose Target contains a 2050 target for at least an 80% reduction from baseline levels and an interim 2020 target for at least a 42% reduction.  By 2015 a reduction of 41.0% had been achieved. 

 

Last Update: 21 June 2017
Next Update: June 2018

Sustainability

Why is this Purpose Target important?
What will influence this Purpose Target?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information

Why is this Purpose Target important?

The quality of Scotland's environment and natural heritage is a key asset and source of competitive advantage. Consequently, protecting and enhancing Scotland's biodiversity and landscape for future generations is central to both our current and future competitiveness. A critical element of this is climate change, not just because it poses a particular threat to Scotland, but also because there is a global imperative to address the issue.

Scotland has a number of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions contained in legislation, within the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. The Act creates a statutory framework for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Scotland by setting an interim target of at least a 42% reduction for 2020, and at least an 80% reduction target for 2050. These reductions are based on a 1990 baseline (1995 for the F-Gases). By reducing our emissions Scotland is making a valuable contribution to addressing climate change.

What will influence this Purpose Target?

Sustainability is not simply a matter of improving the natural environment and the sustainable economic use of our natural assets. It involves a sustainable approach to all economic development, including better ways of promoting - and taking advantage of - our potential in areas such as renewable energy. We also need to encourage and adopt less resource-intensive, lower carbon approaches when developing and implementing policy.

What is the Government's role?

The Government can encourage sustainability in Scotland in a number of ways, including:

  • Supportive business environment: creating the best possible environment for competitive businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation to maximise the opportunities offered by Scotland moving towards a low-carbon economy. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 provides a statutory, long term framework to support progress towards a low-carbon economy

  • Infrastructure development and place: providing sustainable, integrated and cost-effective public transport alternatives to the car as well as a planning and development regime which is joined up and geared towards achieving sustainable places and sustainable economic growth.

  • Equity: protecting and enhancing Scotland's natural assets to support our long-term competitiveness

How is Scotland performing?

In 2015, total Scottish greenhouse gas emissions (including international aviation and shipping) and adjusted to take account of trading in the EU Emissions Trading System, were 45.504 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This figure is 41.0% lower than the Baseline Period.

sustainability chart

Source: Scottish Government, based on data provided by Ricardo Energy and Environment / Aether
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

* Please note: The baseline uses 1990 for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and 1995 for F gases  (hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride).

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on a comparison of the percentage reductions in emissions achieved from the Baseline with the percentage reductions in emissions required in that year, on a trajectory to meet the 42% reduction target in 2020 and the 80% reduction target in 2050.

If the percentage reduction exceeds the reductions required for that year on the trajectory, it suggests that performance is improving. If the percentage reductions are less than the emissions reductions required for that year on the trajectory, this suggests that performance is worsening. If the percentage for that year remains below the trajectory, however emissions are increasing, it suggests that performance is maintaining.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

View Purpose Target Data

Downloadable document:

Title:Sustainability
Description:Sustainability
File:Sustainability [XLSX, 28.9 kb: 20 Jun 2017]
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