Scotland tops EU emissions reduction table


Scotland is at the top of the European league table for emissions reductions, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse revealed today.

Between 1990-2010, emissions in Scotland fell by 22.8 per cent. The European Environment Agency Greenhouse Gas Data Viewer shows this is the largest reduction among the EU-15 Member States – and higher than the EU-27 Member States average of 14.3 per cent, when emissions from international aviation and shipping and the land use, land use change and forestry sectors are factored in.  

Ahead of attending the UN Conference of the Parties in Doha to participate in climate talks with Heads of State and Ministers from nearly 200 countries, Mr Wheelhouse urged world leaders to commit to higher levels of ambition and develop meaningful proposals to tackle climate change.

Mr Wheelhouse said:  

“Scotland has world-leading climate change legislation, and we are half way to meeting our target of a 42 per cent cut in emissions by 2020.

“We are committed to and are taking strong action to deliver emissions reductions and the fact that Scotland tops the EU-15 countries for emissions reduction, ahead of Germany, Denmark and England - and significantly higher than the EU-27 countries average of 14.3 per cent - is testament to our level of ambition and the work that has been undertaken so far.

“This shows exactly what can be achieved with strong political commitment, ground breaking legislation and a comprehensive framework for action. Our commitment to Scotland's low carbon future has provided certainty and is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland.

“However we cannot be complacent in our approach and are committed to doing all we can to deliver action to ensure our targets are met. We are very clear about the scale of the challenge and are taking action to deliver the emissions reductions within our powers. 

“But worldwide action is necessary and that is what I will be pressing for in Doha. I want to see more action and higher levels of ambition across the world and I hope that other countries will be encouraged to match Scotland’s level of ambition.”

In Doha, the Minister will have a programme of speaking engagements and meetings with Ministers from around the world, to promote Scotland’s world leading climate change targets, our low carbon investment opportunities, the action the Government is taking domestically to meet these targets, and the work we are doing in developing countries to promote Climate Justice. Mr Wheelhouse outlined the Scottish Government’s key objectives:

  • An agreement on a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol, with countries showing increased ambition on emissions reduction in the period to 2020.
  • Progress towards a global, legally binding deal by 2015, that commits all countries to reducing emissions in line with the agreed goal of limiting global temperature increases to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
  • Action to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Scottish Government is committed to Climate Justice, and wants to see measures, such as commitments to continuing climate finance, that assist the world’s most vulnerable communities.
  • Promoting the evidence from Scotland on the economic benefits of moving to a low carbon economy. Scotland has recognised expertise in renewable energy development, and the low carbon economy is Scotland is valued at up to £23 billion per year.

Related information

View the EU Member State greenhouse gas emissions comparison table

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act sets out world leading targets of at least 42 per cent emissions cuts by 2020 to and 80 per cent by 2050, (on a 1990 base year). Assessment against the targets takes account of trading in the EU Emissions Trading System.