Scottish greenhouse gas emissions annual target report: 2016

This report is required under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. It provides detail on Scotland's annual climate change emissions reduction targets.


This is the seventh 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 2016 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 2016 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 2016, net Scottish emissions are estimated to have been 38,574,259 tCO2e. This was 10.3 per cent lower than the 2015 figure of 43,005,816 tCO2e, or a 4,431,557 tCO2e decrease. Between 1990 and 2016, there was a 49.0 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 2016, 2,906,763 units were debited 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 41,481,022 tCO2e. The fixed annual target for 2016, as set by the Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010, is to reduce emissions to 44,933,000 tCO2e. This means that the fixed annual target for 2016 was met by 3,451,978 tCO2e.

Based on the NSEA, Scotland's emissions increased by 2.5 per cent in 2016 on the previous year. The longer term trend to date shows a reduction of 45.2 per cent from the 1990/1995 baseline period.

Part 4: Scottish electricity consumption and generation

Part 4 of this report shows that in 2016, gross electricity consumption was 30,908 GWh. In 2016, Scottish electricity generation was 45,845 GWh. In 2016, the average greenhouse gas emissions per megawatt hour of electricity generated is 54gCO2e/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 2016, six projects in Scotland were consented after consideration under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Of these, five related to onshore wind projects (totalling 289 MW) and one to a thermal CHP power plant (159 MW). There were a further three projects licensed by Marine Scotland (in addition to those licensed under section 36 of the Electricity Act), one of which was an offshore wind project (18 MW), one tidal project (2MW) and one wave project (0.045 MW).

Results of modelling suggest that these consented projects, should they become operational, could reduce GB system wide carbon emissions by an estimated 0.246 MtCO2 in the year 2022.


Email: Decarbonisation Division

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