Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2015

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2015. This publication provides estimates of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis; that is emissions that are associated with the spending of Scottish residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise, together with emissions directly generated by Scottish households.

Key points

  • Between 2014 and 2015, Scotland’s carbon footprint (emissions from all greenhouse gases) remained constant at 76.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).
  • Between 1998 and 2015, Scotland’s carbon footprint fell by 8.0 per cent, from 83.1 MtCO2e in 1998 to 76.5 MtCO2e in 2015.
  • Scotland’s carbon footprint rose steadily from 1999 to a peak of 97.7 MtCO2e in 2007 before falling sharply in the following years (coinciding with the recession) and has generally fallen gradually in more recent years. The overall reduction between the 2007 peak, and 2015 is 21.8 per cent.


1.            The full statistical publication can be accessed at:

2.            A carbon dioxide equivalent measure is used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global warming potential by converting amounts of greenhouse gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide based on their global warming potential. Global warming potential describes the relative potency, molecule for molecule, of a greenhouse gas, taking account of how long it remains active in the atmosphere.

3.            This statistical report meets the requirements under Section 37 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. The data contained within this report are also used to inform National Indicator 47: “Carbon Footprint”.

4.            Published territorial emissions are available in the Official Statistics publication “Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2016”

5.            Further information on Scottish economic statistics can be accessed at

6.            More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:  

7.            Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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