Scottish Budget 2019-2020: carbon assessment

Estimate of the consumption-based carbon emissions associated with planned budget expenditure.

This document is part of a collection

1. Introduction

1. This assessment is based on the expenditure data presented in the 2019-20 Budget and fulfils the statutory requirement under Section 94 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 to report upon the emissions impact of expenditure proposals.

1.1. Scope of Assessment

2. The assessment of the Budget captures the emissions associated with the Scottish Government's purchase of goods and services. It is a consumption-based measure that covers direct emissions (e.g. the production of gravel for roads constructed by the Government or generation of electricity used by Government) and also any imported emissions that are generated in producing the direct and indirect goods and services that the Government purchases.

3. The methodology for the Carbon Assessment of the Budget is high level in nature. This assessment allows the Scottish Government to place the carbon impact of its use of goods and services within the wider context of the national and global economy. It helps raise awareness of the carbon impact of spend in different areas, by identifying direct emissions and those from supply-side inputs.

4. The assessment does not take account of 'second-round' emissions. While we do include emission impacts associated with Government spend and its supply chain, we do not count the emissions or savings associated with all of the outcomes arising from this spending. For example, while the Carbon Assessment could include an estimate of the carbon associated with the cost of constructing a road, the carbon associated with the subsequent use of the road is not included[1].

5. The Scottish Government uses a range of other tools, during the policy development stage, to quantify emissions impacts over the policy/project lifetime. These tools include Strategic Environmental Assessments. The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires that every qualifying public plan, programme and strategy is considered for its likely environmental effects and, where likely to be significant, opportunities to avoid adverse impacts are sought and positive ones enhanced. Results are published in the Environmental Reports within the Strategic Environmental Assessment database:

6. Further tools include Environmental Statements, which are required to assess the environmental effects of certain public and private projects under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, which update the requirements in the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984. The Carbon Account for Transport also provides a balance sheet for Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions, and the expected emissions impacts of major transport infrastructure projects and regulatory measures. The latest Transport Carbon Account is available at the following link:

7. The combined effect of Scottish Government policies to reduce emissions over the period to 2032 is set out in the Climate Change Plan, published in February 2018.

8. Although the methodology underpinning the Carbon Assessment of the Budget remains the same as for the Carbon Assessment of the 2018-19 Draft Budget, the base year of Environmental Input-Output (EIO) model itself has been updated from 2013 to 2014. This is possible because of the newly available input-output analytical tables covering the year 2014 for the UK.
As usual the model has also been updated to use the latest available Greenhouse Gas emissions ratios and HM Treasury deflators. More information about these changes and their effects on the overall GHG estimates can be found in Annex A.

9. This year's Carbon Assessment provides a breakdown of emissions associated with the capital and resource budgets for the first time.

1.2. Key Results

10. Following the approach set out in section 1.1, it is estimated that total emissions attributed to the 2019-20 Budget amount to 7.3 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). Applying the updated model to the 2018-19 Draft Budget shows an emissions total of 7.0 MtCO2 equivalent.

11. Details on the various sources of emissions show that some 33 per cent of the Scottish Government's carbon footprint is caused by the use of Energy, Water and Waste, followed by Manufacturing (23 per cent) and Transport and Communication (15 per cent).

12. It is estimated that total emissions attributed to capital investment plans of £5 billion of investment in 2019/20 amount to 1.2 MtCO2e. Note, this is activity relating to putting the capital investment in place, not its long term use. Emissions associated with resource spend amount to 6.1 MtCO2e.

1.3. Budget Context

13. Budget for 2019-20 contains details of Total Managed Expenditure (TME) of £42.5 billion across portfolio areas. Expenditure is split between resources and capital expenditure, and Annually Managed Expenditure (AME). This is illustrated in Table 1. Total Managed Expenditure was £40.6 billion across portfolio areas in the 2018-19 Draft Budget.

Table 1: Total proposed spending plans for 2019-20

2019-20 Budget Resource



UK Funded AME

Health and Sport 13,876.8 346.0 14,222.8 100.4 14,323.2
Communities and Local Government 7,012.8 1,999.0 9,011.8 2,853.0 11,864.8
Finance, Economy and Fair Work 438.1 353.7 791.8 4,545.0 5,336.8
Education and Skills 2,900.5 150.0 3,050.5 397.5 3,448.0
Justice 2,575.2 144.0 2,719.2 - 2,719.2
Transport , Infrastructure and Connectivity 1,155.6 1,754.6 2,910.2 - 2,910.2
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform 181.6 245.0 426.6 - 426.6
Rural Economy 279.0 72.0 351.0 - 351.0
Culture, Tourism and External Affairs 304.5 26.5 331.0 - 331.0
Social Security and Older People 574.9 10.0 584.9 - 584.9
Government Business and Constitutional Relations 12.1 - 12.1 - 12.1
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service 117.1 3.6 120.7 - 120.7
Scottish Government 29,428.2 5,104.4 34,532.6 7,895.9 42,428.5
Scottish Parliament and Audit Scotland 107.1 1.5 108.6 2.0 110.6
Total Scotland 29,535.3 5,105.9 34,641.2 7,897.9 42,539.1


It is estimated that total emissions resulting from the 2019-20 Budget will be 7.3 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

Emissions broadly proportional to spend, except for Rural Economy, and Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, where emissions per unit of spend are slightly higher.

'Second-round' emissions that may result from Government spending and the use of public goods and services, whether beneficial in terms of reducing emissions (e.g. spending on energy efficiency or afforestation) or negative in terms of increasing emissions (e.g. road use) are not captured.

Alongside this analysis of the carbon impact of the Budget, the Scottish Government will continue to use individual level assessments to improve understanding of the lifecycle emission impacts of Government projects and policies. The Scottish Government's Climate Change Plan, published in February this year, lays out further information on the measures that will allow us to meet our climate change targets out
to 2032.


Email: Elliot Lamb

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