We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Climate Change Legislation

  • Part 1 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 creates the statutory framework for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Scotland by setting an interim 42 per cent reduction target for 2020, with the power for this to be varied based on expert advice, and an 80 per cent reduction target for 2050.  To help ensure the delivery of these targets, this part of the Act also requires that the Scottish Ministers set annual targets, in secondary legislation, for Scottish emissions from 2010 to 2050.

  • The Scottish Ministers take advice on the targets they set.  This advice is provided by the UK Committee on Climate Change.  On 15 March 2016 the Committee published their advice on Scottish emissions targets 2028–2032.  On 6 July 2016 the Committee provided an update to this advice, in light of the greenhouse gas emission statistics published on 14 June 2016.  Previous advice can be found on the Committee’s websitePart 2 of the Act contains provisions which allow the Scottish Ministers to establish a Scottish Committee on Climate Change, or to designate an existing body to exercise advisory functions, should it be decided that this is appropriate.

  • Part 3 places duties on the Scottish Ministers requiring that they report regularly to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland's emissions and on the progress being made towards meeting the emissions reduction targets set in the Act.

  • Part 4 places climate change duties on Scottish public bodies.  This Part also contains powers to enable the Scottish Ministers, by order, to impose further duties on public bodies in relation to climate change.

  • The Act includes other provisions on climate change in Part 5, including adaptation, forestry, energy efficiency and waste reduction.  Public engagement is a significant feature of Part 6 of the Act, which also includes provision on carbon assessment.

Secondary Legislation

The following secondary legislation has been made under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009:

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2009
This Order specifies the dates on which the various provisions in the Act come into force.

The Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010
This Order sets the first batch of annual emissions reduction targets, for the period 2010-2022.

The Climate Change (Limit on Carbon Units) (Scotland) Order 2010
This Order places a limit of zero on the amount of carbon units that may be credited to the net Scottish emissions account for the period 2010-2012.  It also specifies that certain carbon units associated with the EU Emissions Trading System do not count towards that limit.

The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2010
These Regulations establish the scheme for monitoring compliance with the annual emissions reduction targets set for 2010-2012.  They also cover a range of administrative issues relating to emissions accounting, including specifying the circumstances in which carbon units may be credited to or debited from the net Scottish emissions account.

The Climate Change (International Aviation and Shipping) (Scotland) Order 2010
This Order describes the method by which emissions of greenhouse gases from international aviation and international shipping that are attributable to Scotland are calculated.

The Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2011
This Order sets the second batch of annual emissions reduction targets, for the period 2023-2027.

The Climate Change (Limit on Carbon Units) (Scotland) Order 2011
This Order places a limit on the amount of carbon units that may be credited to the net Scottish emissions account for the period 2013-2017.  It also specifies that certain carbon units associated with the EU Emissions Trading System do not count towards that limit.

The Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015
This Order requires bodies to prepare reports on compliance with climate change duties.

The Climate Change (Additional Greenhouse Gas) (Scotland) Order 2015
This Order adds nitrogen trifluoride as an additional greenhouse gas to the greenhouse gases listed in section 10(1) of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and designates 1995 as the baseline year for nitrogen trifluoride.

The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015
These Regulations amend the Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2010.

The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016
These Regulations amend the Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2010.

The Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2016
This Order sets the third batch of annual emissions reduction targets, for the period 2028-2032.

The Climate Change (Limit on Use of Carbon Units) (Scotland) Order 2016
This Order places a limit on the amount of carbon units that may be credited to the net Scottish emissions account for the period 2018-2022.  It also specifies that certain carbon units associated with the EU Emissions Trading System do not count towards that limit.

See also information in relation to secondary legislation under Part 5 of the Act:

Energy performance of non-domestic buildings

Carrier bag charges

Functions of Forestry Commissioners