Section E: Further information, Glossary and Acknowledgements
Methodology and Source data
Full details of the methodology used to estimate Scottish greenhouse gas emissions together with further breakdowns are provided on the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory website.
Scottish Greenhouse Gas Inventory Uncertainties Project
The Scottish Government commissioned a project to understand the uncertainties associated with the estimates of Scottish Greenhouse gas Emissions in 2013: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Environment/Publications/GHGUncertainties2013Summary
Scotland’s Carbon Footprint
Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions on a Consumption Basis (“Scotland's Carbon Footprint 1998-2014”)
Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2013. Key Revisions since 2008
This paper was published in 2015 and provides a breakdown of the key revisions to the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Official Statistics publication over successive years from the 1990-2008 inventory to the 1990-2013 inventory.
Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
This legislation outlines the requirements for percentage reductions targets for 2020 and 2050 and fixed annual targets
Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010
This Order sets the first batch of annual emissions reduction targets, for the period 2010-2022.
Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2011
This Order sets the second batch of annual emissions reduction targets, for the period 2023-2027.
The Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2016
This Order sets annual emissions reduction targets for the period 2028-2032.
The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2010
These Regulations establish the scheme for monitoring compliance with the annual emissions reduction targets set for 2010-2012.
The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015
These Regulations establish the scheme for monitoring compliance with the annual emissions reduction targets set for 2013.
The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016
These Regulations establish the scheme for monitoring compliance with the annual emissions reduction targets set for 2014.
The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017
These Regulations establish the scheme for monitoring compliance with the annual emissions reduction targets set for 2015.
The Carbon Accounting Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2018
These Regulations establish the scheme for monitoring compliance with the annual emissions reduction targets set for 2016.
The Climate Change (Additional Greenhouse Gas) (Scotland) Order 2015
This legislates for the inclusion of the new greenhouse gas (nitrogen trifluoride) to be added to the basket of gases in Scotland’s greenhouse gas inventory.
National Performance Framework Sustainability Purpose Targets http://www.gov.scot/About/Performance/scotPerforms/purpose/sustainability
Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) statistics https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change/about/statistics#emissions-and-climate-change-statistics
UK greenhouse gas inventory national system
UK greenhouse gas inventory summary factsheets
Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
The CCC is an independent body established under the Climate Change Act to advise the UK Government and devolved administrations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty. The objective of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The treaty itself set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. In that sense, the treaty is considered legally non-binding. Instead, the treaty provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties (called "protocols") that may set binding limits on greenhouse gases. http://unfccc.int/
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. They provide advice to the UNFCCC on the scientific evidence and developments which are used to inform National Inventories. http://www.ipcc.ch/
Meteorological Office (Met Office)
The Meteorological (Met Office) publishes mean monthly and annual air temperature figures for Scotland from 1910 to 2015.
EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)
Further information can be found in the BEIS website.
Scottish Government Methodology Paper: Determining the Scottish EU ETS cap for 2016
This documents the calculations which determine the ‘specified amounts’ for emissions from (i) fixed installations located in Scotland and covered by the EU emissions trading system (EU-ETS) and (ii) aviation covered by the EU-ETS.
Scottish Energy Statistics
The Scottish Government’s Energy in Scotland 2018 statistics compendium publication presents statistics on the energy sector in Scotland. It presents statistics and analysis for the following topics
- An overview of the energy sector in Scotland – including an Energy Balance for Scotland
- Energy Consumption
- Oil and Gas
- Energy Prices
- Climate Change
- Low Carbon Economy
Scottish Transport Statistics
These statistics are produced by Transport Scotland on an annual basis, as part of a compendium publication on a wide range of transport issues.
Why are some greenhouse gas emissions not considered in this statistics release?
The methods used to compile the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Inventory are consistent with international reporting and are therefore comparable to the greenhouse gas emission estimates reported by all other EU Member States and other Annex 1 parties to the UNFCCC. All countries estimate and submit their greenhouse gas inventory estimates to be consistent with methods set out in international guidance for national inventory methods from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), known as the IPCC (2006) guidelines. The IPCC (2006) guidelines state that national inventories should report on all anthropogenic (human) emissions and removals of greenhouse gas emissions, as a result of human activities within a country’s territorial sphere.
However, there are some emissions and removals of carbon dioxide that occur as a result of short-cycle biogenic processes. This biocarbon has only recently been abstracted from the atmosphere before it is then re-released as carbon dioxide. In accordance with the IPCC (2006) guidelines, these emissions and sinks are therefore excluded from the greenhouse gas inventory, as they could lead to double counting. If countries do choose to estimate these biocarbon emissions, they are reported outside of the national inventory total, as a memo item to that country’s submission to the UNFCCC. This means that some sources and sinks of greenhouse gases are not included in the Scottish and UK inventory totals.
Examples of reasons for why some sources and sinks of greenhouse gases are not included in the greenhouse gas inventory
1. Due to short-cycle biocarbon (carbon only been recently abstracted from the atmosphere)
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from biomass combustion. For example, this includes CO2 emissions from biomass power stations
- Process emissions in food and drink production. These include CO2 emissions from brewing, fermenting and malting and in the production of food.
- CO2 emissions from biodegradable waste to landfill. Emissions are not estimated where they arise from biogenic sources of waste such as food. Fossil-derived organic matter (such as plastic) is assumed to be non-biodegradable and there are no emissions associated with its decomposition.
However, methane (CH4) emissions from biodegradable waste sent to landfill are considered in these greenhouse gas statistics as they are formed by the anaerobic (oxygen-free) decay of organic matter in solid waste disposal sites.
2. Where there has been no anthropogenic influence
- Natural accumulation and storage of carbon in peatland. For emissions or removals of peatland to be considered for IPCC reporting, they require humans to alter the peatland – either through wetland drainage, rewetting, peatland extraction or through another land use change. The UK and Scotland has elected to include the IPCC (2006) Wetlands Supplement as part of their inventory reporting: http://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/home/wetlands.html http://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/wetlands/. The Wetlands Supplements will estimate the carbon effects of drainage and rewetting peatland, although these categories will not be fully included in the greenhouse gas inventory for a number of years.
3. Beyond the territorial definitions as prescribed by the IPCC (2006) reporting requirements
- “Blue carbon”. Blue carbon refers to the carbon captured by the world's oceans and coastal ecosystems. The carbon captured by living organisms in oceans is stored in the form of biomass and sediments from mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses. However, it is worth pointing out that coastal wetlands will be included in the IPCC (2006) wetlands supplement when it becomes included in the greenhouse inventory.
Greenhouse gas emissions that have taken into account purchases/sales through the EU ETS. Adjusted emissions may be higher or lower than actual emitted emissions depending on the quantity of purchases or sales. Scottish Government emissions reduction targets are assessed using adjusted emissions.
The act or process of establishing a forest on land that has not been forested in recent history.
Emissions reduction is based on a Baseline Period. For the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4 and N2O, 1990 was specified as the baseline. 1995 is the baseline for emissions of the F-gases.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide is one of the main gases responsible for climate change. It is mostly emitted through the oxidation of carbon in fossil fuels, e.g. burning coal.
A carbon sink is a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores CO2 for an indefinite period.
Climate change is a long-term change in the earth’s climate. This can be accelerated by human activity, e.g. by releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.
The removal of forest stands by cutting and burning to provide land for agricultural purposes, residential or industrial building sites, roads, etc., or the harvesting of trees for building materials or fuel.
The European Union Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest multi-national emissions trading system in the world. Launched in 2005, the EU ETS is an EU policy aimed at mitigating climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions from industry sectors and aviation. Operating across Europe the system is mandatory for large energy-intensive industrial installations. Compared with 2005 levels, the EU ETS aims to deliver a 21 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020 and a 43 per cent reduction by 2030. Participants include more than 11,000 heavy energy-using installations in power generation, the manufacturing industry and airlines across 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Over 11,000 installations throughout the EU are covered by the system, accounting for around 45 per cent of the EU's total CO2 emissions.
The EU ETS began in 2005. Phase III started in January 2013 and runs to December 2020.
Fluorinated gases (F-gases)
F-gases are the generic name given to HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3. These have been used as replacements for CFCs, which are ozone depleting substances that have been banned under the Montreal Protocol. They have very high global warming potentials.
The greenhouse effect is the process by which heat from the sun is trapped within the Earth’s atmosphere by greenhouse gases. This process is also known as radiative forcing.
A greenhouse gas is a gas which absorbs infrared radiation emitted from the surface of the Earth, helping to retain a portion of that energy in the atmosphere as heat.
Global warming potential (GWP)
GWP is a measure of how much a greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the potency of each gas to CO2.
HFCs are produced commercially as a substitute for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). HFCs are largely used in refrigeration and insulating foam. Their Global Warming Potentials range from 12 to 14,800 times that of CO2, depending on the gas type.
The inventory contains greenhouse gas emissions estimates for Scotland and the UK. The Inventory is a disaggregation of the UK Inventory, which is based on five major sectors: energy, industrial processes, agriculture, land-use, land-use change and forestry, and waste.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. They provide advice to the UNFCCC on the scientific evidence and developments which are used to inform National Inventories.
Estimates of emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) depend critically on assumptions made on the rate of loss or gain of carbon in Scotland’s carbon rich soils. In Scotland, LULUCF activities, taken as a whole, acts as a sink, absorbing more greenhouse gas emissions than it releases.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is around 25 times more potent in the atmosphere than CO2 over a 100-year time horizon. Main sources include agriculture and landfill.
National Communication (NC) Sectors
The UK NC sectors are agreed groupings of the more detailed sectors reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by the UK. This report uses Scottish Government sectors. Mapping of these to NC sectors and IPCC sectors can be seen in Section E.
Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)
Nitrogen trifluoride is a greenhouse gas that is around 17,200 times more potent in the atmosphere than CO2 over a 100-year time horizon. The main source of nitrogen trifluoride is in the making of semiconductors.
Nitrous oxide (N2O)
Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is around 298 times more potent in the atmosphere than CO2 over a 100-year time horizon. The main source is agricultural soil.
Other Petroleum Gas (OPG)
This consists mainly of ethane plus some other hydrocarbons, excluding butane and propane.
PFCs are a by-product of aluminium smelting. They are also the replacement for CFCs in manufacturing semiconductors. The Global Warming Potentials of PFCs ranges from 7,390 - 17,340 times that of CO2 over a 100-year time horizon.
An externally imposed perturbation in the radiative energy budget of the Earth's atmosphere. Such a perturbation can be brought about by changes in the concentrations of radiatively active species (e.g. greenhouse gases), changes in the solar irradiance incident upon the planet, or other changes that affect the radiative energy absorbed by the surface (e.g. changes in surface reflection properties).
The process by which carbon sinks remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
Source (UNFCCC definition)
Any process or activity which releases a greenhouse gas or a precursor greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)
It is largely used in heavy industry to insulate high-voltage equipment and to assist in the manufacturing of cable-cooling systems. Its global warming potential is 22,800 times that of CO2 over a 100-year time horizon.
In 1992, the UNFCCC was adopted as the basis for a global response to climate change. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
We would like to thank our contractors, Ricardo-AEA, in consortium with Aether, Rothamsted Research and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology for their invaluable support in compiling and improving the Scottish greenhouse gas inventory every year. Links to the Devolved Administrations inventories for each year can be found here: http://naei.defra.gov.uk/reports/reports?section_id=4
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