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Changing Our Ways: Scotland's Climate Change Programme


Section 3: Scotland's equitable contribution

3.1 To date, the Executive has committed to making an equitable contribution to UK commitments on climate change. Whilst this principle is the right one, accountability could be strengthened. This was highlighted in the Scottish Parliament's Inquiry into climate change held over the first half of 2005. To address this, we have developed a new approach to quantify our equitable contribution in carbon terms - the Scottish Share - which paves the way for setting a challenging and robust Scottish Target.

An equitable contribution to…


  • the UK's obligation under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce GHG emissions by 12.5% by 2008-2012 compared with 1990 levels. The recently published UK Climate Change Programme ( UKCCP) is designed to deliver this target.
  • the UK Government's domestic commitment to a more ambitious goal to reduce CO 2 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010, with a longer-term goal to reduce CO 2 emissions by some 60% by around 2050. The UKCCP aims to put the UK on a path to the latter, with real progress by 2020.

The Scottish Share

3.3 The Scottish Share is the amount of carbon savings that Scotland has to deliver through its devolved policies to match savings from all devolved policies in the UKCCP on a per capita basis.

3.4 The Scottish Share has been calculated at around 1.7 million tonnes of carbon ( MtC) in annual savings by 2010. This is based on the package of measures analysed for the UKCCP, estimated to deliver annual carbon savings of 34.5 MtC in 2010 through a combination of reserved policies (13.8 MtC savings) and devolved policies (20.7 MtC savings). 5 This includes policies in the UKCCP from 2000, policies introduced since then, and new policies in the current UKCCP published in 2006. A list of the policies included in the assessment and the estimates of carbon savings are included in Annex E.

3.5 This approach is innovative and presents a significant and valuable clarification of Scotland's climate change commitments. It provides a way of benchmarking the effectiveness of Executive policies at delivering carbon savings against all devolved policies across the UK. By focusing on devolved policies, it allows the Executive's ambition and subsequent performance to be assessed in those areas where it has direct responsibility and control. As with all new approaches, there is scope for the analysis to be refined over time, particularly the estimates of carbon savings from policies. Some points to bear in mind are noted below.

image of The Scottish Share

Points to bear in mind about the Scottish Share

  • The Scottish Share has been developed for the purposes of this Programme. It does not relate directly to the achievement of targets and goals at UK level. It is not additional to the policies set out in the UKCCP.
  • It is inappropriate to make comparisons with UK goals and targets for two reasons: the Scottish Share does not include the carbon impact of reserved policies throughout the UK; and the Scottish Share includes all GHGs, converted into CO 2 equivalent. (This increases marginally the size of the Scottish Share.) The analysis included in the UKCCP focuses on policies to reduce CO 2.
  • Whilst policy impact is presented as annual carbon savings in 2010, most policies will continue to deliver savings in future years, and some have a cumulative effect (eg forestry measures).
  • Analysis of the impact of policy measures on carbon emissions is relatively new; not all policies which deliver carbon savings in the UK and Scotland are included although the impact of such other policies is expected to be small.
  • The expected carbon savings from devolved policies is unlikely to match emission trends in the disaggregated Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Actual emissions will be influenced by other factors including the impact of reserved policies, energy prices, economic growth and demand.

The Scottish Target

The Scottish Target is to exceed the Scottish Share by 1 million tonnes of carbon in 2010

3.6 Setting a Scottish Target in relation to the Scottish Share demonstrates the Executive's commitment to mitigating climate change and will help to stimulate action across all sectors of our society and economy. Constructing an over-arching target is not without its difficulties - to be meaningful it has to reflect those areas where the Executive has policy levers (devolved policies) and exclude those where it does not (reserved policies). Our analysis suggests that the most appropriate target is one that is based on the Executive's policy impact. An over-arching target allows - at a glance - the Executive's commitment to tackling climate change to be assessed.

3.7 We expect to achieve this target through the introduction of new policies or changes to existing policies, as outlined for each sector in Section 5 of this Programme. Analysis of policies on which the Scottish Share is based will be a key part of this. The value of the Scottish Share is likely to increase over time as additional devolved efforts are made to increase carbon savings across the UK. The Scottish Share may also change as analysis of policy impacts improves and estimates of carbon savings from some of the existing policies in Annex E are firmed up. 6

3.8 The challenge is to meet the Scottish Target in a sustainable way, showing it can be done whilst building a strong, sustainable economy and protecting the environment. Strengthening our response across the sectors on mitigation should have a knock-on effect of raising awareness of the need to adapt. We will seek out ways of maximising the synergies between these two strands of our climate change response.

3.9 Mechanisms for reporting on progress are outlined in Section 7. The details will be worked up in conjunction with Defra to ensure consistency and comparability with the UKCCP.

A tonne of carbon is…

Emitted by every household in Scotland leaving a 40W light bulb on for 6 minutes or a 9W energy saving light bulb on for 27 minutes.

? Can be saved every 8 minutes if every household in Scotland switches just one 40W bulb for an energy saving one.

Emitted by just over a years average driving.

? Can be saved by driving a small economical car rather than a large 4x4 vehicle in just over a year's average mileage.

Emitted by around 20 return journeys by plane from Edinburgh to London or around 70 return journeys by train from Edinburgh to London.

? Can be saved by 26 people taking the return journey from Edinburgh to London by train instead of flying.