Greenhouse gas emissions: Scotland making 'good progress'

Coal plant Image copyright PA
Image caption The Committee on Climate Change said good progress was made despite the fact targets were missed

Scotland has continued to make "good progress" on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the body which advises the UK government on the issue has said.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said emissions in Scotland fell by 9.9% in 2011.

The drop for the UK as a whole was 6.9%.

However, climate campaigners said the figures showed that the Scottish government still had more to do to meet future emission levels targets.

Much of the reduction was due to the weather and a switch from coal-fired electricity generation to nuclear and renewable sources.

The CCC said the reduction also reflected additional investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Target missed

The committee is an independent statutory body set up under the Climate Change Act to advise the UK government on setting carbon budgets, and to report to parliament on the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This is the latest Scottish breakdown of the UK emission figures for 2011.

There were drops of more than 20% in emissions from the the power and residential sectors, and a 15% reduction in emissions in the public sector.

Despite the fall in emissions, Scotland narrowly missed the legislated annual target of 53.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

The CCC said this was due to a change in the way estimated emissions were calculated.

The committee's latest report, which is done for the Scottish government, said meeting future targets remained "very challenging".

It has highlighted several areas that will required further action in order to meet future targets.

They included developing the electric vehicle market through more investment in the charging infrastructure, and focusing on pilot projects for new farming practices.

'Remain on track'

David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC, said: "There has been good progress in Scotland on reducing emissions in key sectors of the economy, notably through investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

"This should not be obscured by the fact that emissions in 2011 were above the level targeted because of a change to the accounting methodology. But much remains to be done in terms of policy development and implementation to achieve very challenging future targets, and to unlock the benefits for Scotland of building a low-carbon economy."

Scottish Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "This report highlights how Scotland is doing much better in reducing climate change emissions than the UK as a whole - with almost a 10% reduction in Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions.

"In 2011, Scotland led western Europe in terms of reducing our climate change emissions and the committee's analysis of underlying trends in emissions indicates we remain on track to achieving our long-term climate change targets."

'A better Scotland'

Climate change campaign group The Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) welcomed the drop in emissions but urged the Scottish government to go further with new green energy initiatives to make "a better Scotland".

Tom Ballantine, chairman of SCCS, said: "Taking action on climate change will create a better Scotland, where we have warmer homes, healthier transport options, and cleaner air.

"Scottish ministers can make changes right now to ensure that emissions from all sectors reduce year on year."

He added: "Scotland has rightly set out to be a world-leader on climate change. It is imperative that we now show that it is possible to make this happen, and, at the same time, that Scottish people can benefit from the changes made."

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