Scotland's Carbon Footprint 1998 - 2010
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.
- Scotland's carbon footprint (including emissions from all greenhouse gases) rose in 2010, after falling from a peak in 2007.
- Between 2009 and 2010, Scotland's carbon footprint increased by 4 per cent following a 19 per cent fall in 2009. From 1998, the footprint rose by 15 per cent to a peak of 101.1 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent1 (MtCO2e) in 2007 before falling to 78.7 MtCO2e in 2009. In 2010, Scotland's carbon footprint was 82.2 MtCO2e, 6 per cent less than in 1998 (87.9 MtCO2e).
- Similarly GHG emissions relating to Scottish final consumption of imports rose 34 per cent between 1998 and a peak in 2007. Since 2007, emissions from imports fell to a low in 2009 before increasing in 2010 to a level 4 per cent less than in 1998.
- Emissions relating to Scottish consumption of goods and services produced in the UK decreased by 12 per cent between 1998 and 2010 while emissions relating to Scottish residents direct consumption of fuel increased by 2%.
- Whilst Scotland's carbon footprint has fallen by 6 per cent between 1998 and 2010, comparable emissions on a territorial basis (Scotland's production emissions) have fallen by 15 per cent.
The carbon footprint of Scotland includes the six main greenhouse gases (GHGs) including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated compounds (hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride).
The estimates for all greenhouse gases are less robust than estimates for CO2only, largely because of inherent uncertainties in the estimation of non-CO2 emissions. The carbon dioxide footprint relates just to CO2 emissions. Scotland's carbon dioxide footprint rose by 3 per cent between 1998 and 2010, with a peak in 2007.
The carbon footprint refers to emissions that are associated with the spending of Scottish residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise along the supply chain, and those which are directly generated by Scottish households through private motoring etc. These emissions are often referred to as "consumption emissions" to distinguish them from estimates relating to the emissions "produced" within a country's territory or economic sphere. To find out what effect Scottish consumption has on GHG emissions we need to take into account where the goods we buy come from and their associated supply chains.
Since 1990, the UK's economy has continued to move from a manufacturing base towards the services sector. One of the consequences of this is that more of the goods and services we buy and use are now produced outside the UK. The current data breaks down emissions into those generated by households, those produced in the UK and imports either from the rest of the EU, China or the rest of the World.
Inherently the emissions relating to the overseas production of imports to Scotland are not as easily measured as emissions generated within Scotland's borders. There are general conventions on how to do this, using shares of production based on financial data, but the results cannot be viewed as being as robust as the estimates of GHG emissions generated domestically. The methodology and data for calculating these emissions resulting from imports have been substantially revised since the last release.
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: "Reduce Scotland's Carbon Footprint".
Email: John Landrock
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