Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2020

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2020. 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 2019 and 2020, Scotland’s carbon footprint (emissions from all greenhouse gases) decreased by 11.5 per cent from 55.1 to 48.8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2020.
  • Between 1998 and 2020, Scotland’s carbon footprint fell by 33.3 per cent from 73.1 MtCO2e in 1998 to 48.8 MtCO2e in 2020
  • Scotland’s carbon footprint rose continuously from 2001 to a peak of 81.2 MtCO2e in 2007 before falling sharply after 2007 (coinciding with the recession) and, with the exception of 2012 and 2018, has fallen each subsequent year. The overall reduction between the 2007 peak and 2020 is 40.0 per cent.

    1. The full statistical publication can be accessed at: 
    2. 2020 covered the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the national lockdowns and travel restrictions. This impacted consumption-based emissions, especially on emissions from transport generated directly from households, which reduced by 24.4 per cent in 2020, and the emissions associated with reduced household spend on air travel, recreation, and restaurants.
    3. This statistical report meets the requirements under Section 37 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and the updated requirements under Section 21 of the Climate    Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) Act 2019.  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 Statistics 2021 
    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: 


Media enquiries

Back to top