Scottish greenhouse gas emissions annual target report: 2014

A report required under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 providing detail on the annual climate change emissions reduction targets.


This is the fifth report on the Scottish greenhouse gas emissions annual target required under section 33 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 ('the Act'), and relates to the 2014 target year. It also fulfils the requirement under section 38 of the Act to report on the impact on emissions resulting from the exercise of electricity generation related functions (see Part 4).

For the purposes of this report, reporting requirements under section 33 of the Act have been separated into four parts as follows:

Part 1: Annual and Domestic Effort Targets

Part 1 of this report shows that both the annual and domestic effort targets for 2014 were met.

Part 2: Net Scottish Emissions

Part 2 of this report contains information on net Scottish emissions. "Net Scottish emissions" are defined in the Act as the amount of "Scottish emissions", reduced by the amount of "Scottish removals" of a greenhouse gas.

"Scottish emissions" covers all emissions from sources territorially located within Scotland, plus Scotland's share of mobile transport emissions, including domestic and international aviation and shipping.

"Scottish removals" refer to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by carbon sinks. Carbon sinks are defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC) as "any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere" - for instance woodlands.

In 2014, net Scottish emissions are estimated to have been 46,704,130 tCO 2e. This was 8.6 per cent lower than the 2013 figure of 51,121,730 tCO 2e, or a 4,417,600 tCO 2e decrease. Between 1990 and 2014, there was a 39.5 per cent reduction in net Scottish emissions.

Part 3: The Net Scottish Emissions Account ( NSEA)

Achievement of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions targets is measured against the level of the net Scottish emissions account ( NSEA). The NSEA is defined in the Act as the aggregate amount of "net Scottish emissions" of greenhouse gases, reduced / increased by the amount of carbon units credited to / debited from it in accordance with the Carbon Accounting Scheme Regulations made under the Act.

There are two mechanisms by which carbon units can be credited to / debited from the NSEA.

i. As the result of the operation of the EU Emissions Trading System ( EU ETS) in Scotland. The details of this mechanism are set out in the Annex to this report.

ii. Ministers may credit to the NSEA any international carbon units purchased by them, thereby offsetting domestic emissions.

In 2014, 4,818,393 units were credited to the NSEA as a result of the operation of the EU ETS. No units were credited to the NSEA as a result of the purchase by Ministers of international carbon units. The NSEA figure was 41,885,736 tCO 2e. The fixed annual target for 2014, as set by the Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010, is to reduce emissions to 46,958,000 tCO 2e. This means that the fixed annual target for 2014 was met by 5,072,264 tCO 2e.

Based on the NSEA, Scotland's emissions fell by 12.5 per cent in 2014 on the previous year. The longer term trend to date shows a reduction of 45.8 per cent from the 1990/1995 baseline period. This means that the level of Scotland's statutory 2020 target to reduce emissions by 42 per cent from baseline levels has been exceeded, six years early.

Part 4: Scottish electricity consumption and generation

Part 4 of this report shows that in 2014, gross electricity consumption was 38,115 GWh. In 2014, Scottish electricity generation was 49,929 GWh. In 2014, the average greenhouse gas emissions per megawatt hour of electricity generated is 196 gCO 2e/ kWh.

Section 38 of the Act is also reported on in this section. This requires a report in respect of each year in the period 2010-2050 that, in so far as reasonably practicable, sets out the impact on net Scottish emissions during that year resulting from the exercise by the Scottish Ministers of the functions conferred on them by virtue of any enactment relating to electricity generation.

In 2014, twenty projects in Scotland were consented after consideration under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Of these, ten related to onshore wind projects (totalling 1,011 MW), eight offshore wind projects (totalling 4,150 MW), one biomass project (totalling 120 MW) and one thermal power plant (120 MW). There were a further two projects licensed by Marine Scotland (in addition to those licensed under section 36 of the Electricity Act). These additional projects were both tidal devices (totalling 0.53 MW).

Results of modelling suggest that these consented projects, should they become operational, could reduce GB system wide carbon emissions by an estimated 6.5 MtCO 2 in the year 2022.


Email: Alistair Montgomery

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