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Scotland's carbon footprint: 1998-2016

Estimates of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis.

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Breakdown of Scotland's Carbon Footprint, 1998-2016

Table 1 outlines how the Carbon Footprint has been categorised for this publication.

Table 1. Categorisation of Scotland's Carbon Footprint

Main Category Activity Description
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from UK Produced Goods and Services Scottish consumption of UK production UK production emissions attributable to Scottish final consumption, including manufacturing and transport, international aviation and shipping provided by Scottish operators.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Embedded in Imported Goods and Services – By Region of Import
  • EU
  • China
  • Rest of the World
Imports used by UK businesses for Scottish consumption Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with the production of imports which are used by UK industry and attributable to Scottish final consumption
Imports directly used by Scottish consumers Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with the production of imports which are used by Scottish final consumers
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Directly Produced By Scottish Residents Private motoring Greenhouse Gas Emissions generated directly by households through private motoring.
Household heating Greenhouse Gas Emissions arising from households' use of fossil fuels for heating, households use of aerosols, etc.

Chart 2 shows Scotland's carbon footprint, broken down into three main components, from 1998 to 2016.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions embedded in imported goods and services from overseas. These accounted for 51.1 per cent of Scotland's carbon footprint in 2016; up from 36.5 per cent in 1998.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions embedded in UK produced goods and services. These accounted for 31.7 per cent of Scotland's carbon footprint in 2016; down from 47.5 per cent in 1998.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions directly produced by Scottish residents. These account for 17.3 per cent of Scotland's carbon footprint in 2016; down from 16.0 per cent of total consumption-based emissions in 1998.

Chart 2. Scotland's Carbon Footprint, by main component, 1998 to 2016. Values in MtCO2e

Chart 2. Scotland's Carbon Footprint, by main component, 1998 to 2016. Values in MtCO2e

Additionally, Chart 2 shows that:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions associated with imported goods and services increased from 30.7 MtCO2e in 1998 to 51.7 MtCO2e in 2007 (an increase of 68.3 per cent over this time period). These emissions accounted for 51.2 per cent of Scotland's carbon footprint in 2007.
  • Between 2007 and 2016, greenhouse gas emissions embedded in imported goods and services fell by 27.1 per cent; this compares with a 22.7 per cent increase in emissions embedded in imports over the whole time period from 1998 to 2016.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions relating to the consumption of UK produced goods and services by Scottish residents fell from 40.0 MtCO2e in 1998 to 23.3 MtCO2e in 2016 – a fall of 41.6 per cent. There was a general fall in greenhouse gas emissions from this category over the time period.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions generated directly by Scottish residents have fallen from 13.4 MtCO2e in 1998 to 12.7 MtCO2e in 2016 – a fall of 5.1 per cent over this time period.

Chart 3 shows how Scotland's carbon footprint fell by 10.4 MtCO2e (12.3 per cent) between 1998 and 2016.

Chart 3. Change in Scotland's Carbon Footprint between 1998 and 2016 - in MtCO2e, and percentage changes

Chart 3. Change in Scotland's Carbon Footprint between 1998 and 2016 - in MtCO2e, and percentage changes

Chart 3 also shows that between 1998 and 2016:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from Scottish consumption of UK production have seen the greatest absolute reduction over this time period (16.7 MtCO2e; a 41.6 per cent reduction), reflecting the emissions-reduction seen in the Scotland and the rest of the UK over this period.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions embedded in imports directly used by Scottish consumers have increased by 4.0 MtCO2e (a 20.4 per cent increase). Emissions embedded in imports used by UK businesses for Scottish consumption have increased by 2.9 MtCO2e (a 26.8 per cent increase).
  • Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from households heating have decreased by 1.2 MtCO2e (a 14.8 per cent decrease) whilst private motoring emissions have increased by 0.5 MtCO2e (an 10.5 per cent increase).

Chart 4 shows how Scotland's carbon footprint has changed from 2007 to 2016. The year 2007 has been chosen as the base year for this chart as it represents the peak value in the series. Scotland's carbon footprint has fallen by 27.2 MtCO2e (26.9 per cent) over this time period.

Chart 4. Change in Scotland's Carbon Footprint between 2007 and 2016 - in MtCO2e,and percentage changes

Chart 4. Change in Scotland's Carbon Footprint between 2007 and 2016 - in MtCO2e,and percentage changes

Chart 4 also shows that between 2007 and 2016:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions embedded in Scottish consumption of UK production fell by the greatest amount, both in absolute and percentage terms (a reduction of 12.4 MtCO2e; 34.8 per cent).
  • There were also considerable falls in greenhouse gas emissions attributed to imports directly used by Scottish consumers (12.0 MtCO2e; 33.4 per cent).
  • Emissions embedded in imports used by UK businesses for Scottish consumption decreased by 2.0 MtCO2e ( a fall of 12.7 per cent).
  • Greenhouse gas emissions attributed to private motoring and household heating have seen smaller absolute falls (0.1 MtCO2e for private motoring; 0.6 MtCO2e for households heating).

Chart 5 shows that Scotland's carbon footprint has fallen considerably in the latest year.

Chart 5. Change in Scotland's Carbon Footprint between 2015 and 2016 - in MtCO2e,and percentage changes

Chart 5. Change in Scotland's Carbon Footprint between 2015 and 2016 - in MtCO2e,and percentage changes

Chart 5 also shows that between 2015 and 2016:

  • Emissions embodied in Scottish consumption of UK production fell by 1.7 MtCO2e (6.7 per cent).
  • Embedded emissions in imports consumed in Scotland fell by 2.1 MtCO2e (8.1 per cent).
  • Emissions embedded in imports used by UK businesses for Scottish consumption decreased by 2.0 MtCO2e ( a fall of 12.8 per cent).
  • There were relatively minor increases in the level of absolute emissions in private motoring (0.1 MtCO2e), and household heating (0.2 MtCO2e).

Chart 6 presents a breakdown of Scotland's embedded greenhouse gases by region of import.

Chart 6. Breakdown of Scotland's embedded greenhouse gas emissions by region of import, 1998 to 2016. Values in MtCO2e

Chart 6. Breakdown of Scotland's embedded greenhouse gas emissions by region of import, 1998 to 2016. Values in MtCO2e

  • Consistently over the entire time-series, over half of greenhouse gas emissions embedded in imported goods and services originate from areas other than the EU and China. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with these "rest of world" imports increased from 20.6 MtCO2e in 1998 to 29.0 MtCO2e in 2007 (a 40.8 per cent increase). They then fell sharply to 22.9 MtCO2e in 2009. Following 2009 and 2010, these embodied emissions have been increasing slowly, with a slight increase in 2015 before falling to 22.2 MtCO2e in 2016.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions embedded in EU imports increased from 8.1 MtCO2e in 1998 to 9.6 MtCO2e in 2007 before falling to their lowest point of 7.0 MtCO2e in 2011. Over the entire time-series, these embodied emissions show an overall slight increase of 1.4 per cent from 1998 to 2016.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions embedded from imports to Scotland from China have increased substantially, from 2.0 MtCO2e in 1998 to 13.1 MtCO2e in 2007 (a six-fold (640 per cent) increase)). Emissions embedded in these imports fell for 6 consecutive years following the 2007 peak and have remained relatively stable since that time. Over the entire time-series, embodied emissions associated with imports from China have increased by 257 per cent (1998-2016).

Contact

Email: andrew.mortimer@gov.scot

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