Scottish greenhouse gas emissions annual target report: 2017

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

Part 1 – Annual and Domestic Effort Targets

Requirements of the Act

Section 33 of the Act requires that:

  • The Scottish Ministers must lay before the Scottish Parliament a report in respect of each year in the period 2010-2050 for which an annual target has been set (a "target year") (subsection (1)). The report under this section must be laid before the Parliament no later than 31 October in the second year after the target year (subsection (7)).
  • The report must state whether the annual target for the target year has been met (subsection (2)).
  • If the annual target has not been met, the report must explain why (subsection (3)).
  • The report must also state whether the domestic effort target has been met in the target year to which the report relates (subsection (4)).
  • If the domestic effort target has not been met, the report must explain why (subsection (5)).
  • The report must contain information mentioned in section 34 of the Act (subsection (6)). This is covered in parts 2, 3 and 4 of this report.

Annual target

The annual target for 2017 was missed

Achievement of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions annual targets is measured against the level of the net Scottish emissions account (NSEA). The NSEA accounts for the greenhouse gas emissions from sources in Scotland, Scotland's share of emissions from international aviation and international shipping, the effect of any relevant emissions sequestration (e.g. "carbon sinks" such as woodland) and the effect of the sale and purchase of relevant carbon units (tradable emissions allowances). Part 3 of this report contains information on the NSEA, including the total amount of carbon units that have been credited to or debited from the NSEA.

In 2017, the NSEA figure was 46,410,387 tCO2e. The fixed annual target for 2017, as set by the Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010[8], is to reduce emissions to 43,946,000 tCO2e. This means that the fixed annual target for 2017 was missed by 2,464,387 tCO2e.

Table 1: Margin between the annual emissions target and the net Scottish Emissions Account (NSEA) in 2017 (tCO2e)
Annual target (A) 43,946,000
Net Scottish Emissions Account (B) 46,410,387
Margin by which target is met (+) or missed (-) (A – B) -2,464,387

The fixed annual target for 2017 was missed because of a combination of factors:

  • technical revisions to the greenhouse gas inventory (see revisions for the 1990-2017 inventory at Part 2), Successive revisions mean that baseline emissions in the 1990-2017 inventory are 6.1 MtCO2e (8.6 per cent) higher than the 1990-2008 inventory which was used to set the statutory fixed annual targets for 2010-2027. Reductions required to meet each of the fixed annual targets are now significantly greater than was envisaged when the targets were set (see table 11).
  • the adjustment for trading in the EU ETS (see Annex). Rather than reporting actual emissions from Scottish participants in the scheme, the EUETS adjustment is based on the assumption that Scottish industry uses a fair share of the permits available through the scheme. In recent years the number of permits made available across the EU has increased and, consequently, the assumed amount being used in Scotland has increased. On this adjusted reporting basis, Scotland's emissions increased by 3.7 per cent between 2016 and 2017, while actual emissions fell by 3.3 per cent.
  • small increases in actual emissions from transport, business and industry, and waste management between 2016 and 2017.

Domestic Effort Target

The domestic effort target for 2017 was met

Section 8 of the Act places a duty on the Scottish Ministers to ensure that reductions in net Scottish emissions of greenhouse gases, account for at least 80 per cent of the reduction in the net Scottish emissions account in any target year – the "domestic effort target". For the specific purpose of ascertaining whether this target has been met, the Act stipulates that the use of carbon units through the operation of the EU ETS is treated as though it is a reduction in "net Scottish emissions".

Table 5 in Part 3 of this report shows the change in net Scottish emissions (including the operation of the EU ETS) between 2016 and 2017 as a proportion of the change in the NSEA between 2016 and 2017. It shows that 100 per cent of the change in the NSEA is accounted for by changes in net Scottish emissions and for the purposes of this report, the domestic effort target was met.



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