Scottish greenhouse gas emissions 2017

Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland for the years 1990 to 2017.

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2017

There are two measures of greenhouse gases presented in this release:

Source Emissions

Source Emissions

A measure of the actual emissions or removals in Scotland. Includes international aviation and shipping. Used for UK and international comparisons.

Adjusted Emissions: For Reporting Against Targets

Adjusted Emissions: For Reporting Against Targets

Emissions adjusted to account for Scotland's participation in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS). These adjusted emissions are used to measure progress against the targets set in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

The Act provides for a fixed annual target for 2017 of 43.946 MtCO2e, which has been missed.

The Act also contains a 2050 target for at least an 80 per cent reduction from baseline levels and an interim 2020 target for at least a 42 per cent reduction. Although this 2020 target was exceeded in the years 2014 and 2015, the increase in adjusted emissions in the most recent year means that it was missed in 2016 and 2017.

ETS Adjusted emissions, the indicator on which the Scottish Government's statutory targets are based, increased in 2017 even though actual source emissions fell. Adjusted emissions count Scottish ETS allowances as contributing toward Scottish emissions irrespective of whether they are used by Scottish participants in the ETS to offset their emissions, or sold and used by emitters in other participating countries. The total number of allowances issued through the ETS system has increased steadily since 2014 as part of the EU's management of the ETS. As a result, Scotland's share of ETS permits, based on historic emissions, has automatically increased. As a result there has developed a significant disconnect between the figure for ETS adjusted emissions and the actual quantity of Scottish source emissions.

Figures have been revised since last year's release to incorporate methodological improvements and new data

MtCO2e refers to million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is a consistent measure of assessing the contribution of greenhouse gases to global warming.

The Baseline Period uses 1990 for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and 1995 for hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride

Key Trend – Source Emissions

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 1990 to 2017. Values in MtCO2e

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 1990 to 2017. Values in MtCO2e

In 2017, Scottish source emissions of the basket of seven greenhouse gases were estimated to be 40.5 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). This is 3.3 per cent lower than the 2016 figure of 41.9 MtCO2e; a 1.4 MtCO2e decrease.

The main contributor to this reduction between 2016 and 2017 was a fall in Energy Supply emissions (-1.4 MtCO2e; an 18.9 per cent reduction). This was driven almost entirely by the complete removal of coal-generation from the power generation sector Other sectors exhibited a range of minor changes between -0.3 and +0.3 MtCO2e which, when considered together, essentially cancelled each other out.

Between 1990 and 2017, there was a 46.8 per cent reduction in estimated emissions, a 35.6 MtCO2e decrease. The most significant contributors to this reduction were:

  • Fall in Energy Supply emissions (such as power stations) (-16.7 MtCO2e; a 73.5 per cent reduction)
  • Fall in Business and Industrial Process emissions (such as manufacturing) (-5.7 MtCO2e; a 39.7 per cent reduction)
  • Fall in Waste Management emissions (such as Landfill) (-4.3 MtCO2e; a 72.0 per cent reduction)
  • Fall in Agriculture and related Land Use emissions (-4.0 MtCO2e; a 29.4 per cent reduction)

More details can be found in Section B.

Key Trend – EU ETS Adjusted Emissions

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Adjusted for the EU Emissions Trading System, (EU ETS). 1990 to 2017. Values in MtCO2e

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Adjusted for the EU Emissions Trading System, (EU ETS). 1990 to 2017. Values in MtCO2e

  • When emissions are adjusted to take account of trading in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), emissions increased by 3.7 per cent between 2016 and 2017 (from 44.8 MtCO2e to 46.4 MtCO2e). This is the basis against which progress towards the targets outlined within the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 are measured.
  • The EU ETS is an EU policy aimed at mitigating climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions from large point-source emitters (primarily electricity generation and energy-intensive industries) and in aviation. Under accounting rules of the Climate Change (Scotland) 2009 Act, the contribution of those sectors to the annual targets is determined by the Scottish share of emissions allowances in the EU ETS, rather than the actual level of emissions. Section C provides information on what the EU ETS is and what it means for Scotland's Greenhouse Gas Emissions statistics.
  • Compared with the Baseline Period [1], emissions in 2017 (after taking account of trading in the EU ETS) reduced by 39.1 per cent. Section A contains more information on how the Baseline Period is defined and Section C contains results in more detail.

Revisions to Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statistics

Note that as part of this release all of the figures have been revised since the previous publication in June 2018, to incorporate methodological improvements and new data. Comparing these 2017 figures with the 2016 figures published a year ago will therefore give a different year-on-year percentage change; one which is incorrect and should not be used. Details of these revisions can be found later in this statistical release in Section D.



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