Extreme weather impacts on emissions
Extremely cold weather for prolonged periods of 2010 has had a major impact on Scotland’s emissions, Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson said today.
Some of the coldest temperatures experienced in 91 years resulted in households across Scotland being forced to keep the heating on and resulted in a significant rise in both residential and power station emissions.
Latest statistics published today indicate that Scotland's emissions rose by 1.9 per cent in 2010 on the previous year, when taking emissions trading into account. However, the longer term trend still shows a substantial emissions reduction of 24.3 per cent since 1990, over half way to the Climate Change Target of 42 per cent by 2020.
Historic emissions data has also been significantly revised upwards due to new data and changes in methodology. This revision contributes to Scottish emissions being higher than the statutory target for 2010 under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act but still showing a substantially better position than the UK as a whole with emissions in Scotland down by 24.3 per cent compared with 20.2 per cent across the UK.
In addition provisional figures from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change indicate that emissions fell seven per cent in 2011, suggesting that emissions reductions will get back on track in 2011.
Stewart Stevenson said:
“The Scottish Government remains fully committed to delivering ambitious and world-leading climate change targets. We always knew it would be a challenging path to follow when these were set and that year to year fluctuations were inevitable.
“It is therefore no surprise that domestic heating emissions rose as a result of the extreme weather. Scotland faced its coldest winter temperatures in almost a century – and quite rightly people across Scotland needed to heat their homes to keep warm and safe.
“The longer term trend reveals Scottish greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by around a quarter since 1990, signalling we are still on track to achieve the 2020 target.
“While the 2010 weather was exceptional, this early experience highlights the need to not just plan to meet the targets, but to build in some contingency as well. We remain fully committed to delivering our climate change targets and I am confident that the underlying trend remains downward.”
The progress on policies on efficient home heating, transport, waste, forestry and above all renewable energy generation, which has almost doubled since 2007, will ensure further progress in the years to come.
We have made significant progress since 2010 on our continuing action to tackle climate change. For example:
- By 2010, 62 per cent of Scottish households were already living in homes with a good energy efficiency rating, up from 55 per cent in 2009
- Last month, we announced our plans for a National Retrofit Programme to tackle fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions even further - if Scotland receives its fair share of energy company obligations there could be as much as £200 million a year to support this ambitious new programme
- Progress has also been made in tree planting, with rates increasing by almost 50 per cent in 2010/11 compared to 2009/10
- We have recently launched Safeguarding Scotland's Resources consultation that proposes ambitious targets to cut Scotland’s total waste from households and businesses by five per cent by 2015 and 15 per cent by 2025
- 2011 was a record year for renewable energy output with 35 per cent of Scotland’s electricity coming from renewables
- The groundbreaking climate challenge fund also continues to make a difference with £47.5 million awarded since 2008 to fund 525 projects, across 383 communities
Later this year the Scottish Government plans to lay before Parliament its second report on proposals and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This will outline how the ambitious targets can be met well into the next decade. We will continue to seek additional innovative ways to address climate change and drive down emissions.
Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2010