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The Scottish Government

The Scottish Government
5.3 million (2011)
£145 billion (2012)
The Scottish Government


Key Successes and Targets

The Scottish Government, supported by the Scottish Parliament, has set world-leading greenhouse gas emission reduction targets with detailed plans on how to meet them.

GHG targets:

Annual targets set in statute:

  • 42% cut by 2020 (compared to 1990)
  • 58% cut by 2027 (compared to 1990)

Energy Targets:

  • 50% equivalent gross electricity demand from renewables by 2015; 100% by 2020
  • 30% overall energy demand from renewables by 2020
  • 12% reduction in overall energy use by 2020 compared to 2005-07 baseline
  • 2030 decarbonisation target for energy sector of 50gCO2/kWh


  • 9.9% fall in emissions in 2011 (the latest year for which data is available).
  • 25.7% lower emissions in 2011 compared to 1990: over half way to achieving the target of a 42% cut by 2020 (adjusted for EU ETS and including international aviation and shipping).                      
  • 46% equivalent of Scotland’s gross electricity production was generated from renewables in 2013 (up from 16.9% in 2006).
  • 9.25% reduction in final energy consumption in 2011 compared to 2005-07 baseline.

Regional Overview

GHG emissions 51.3 million tons CO2e (2011) (before adjustment for EU ETS)

The Scottish Government’s independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), in its 3rd report on 25 March 2014, said Scotland has continued to make good progress towards meeting ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Emissions in Scotland fell by 9.9% in 2011. In particular there were large reductions of over 20% in the power and residential sectors, and almost 15% reduction in the public sector in 2011. While much of this reduction was due to the weather, and a switch from coal fired electricity generation to nuclear and renewable sources, it also reflected good progress investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Current Activities

Scotland is at the top of the European league table for emissions reductions. Based on 2011 data, between 1990 and 2011 direct emissions in Scotland fell by 29.6%. This is the largest reduction among the EU-15 Member States, and higher than the EU-27 Member State average of 17.1%, when emissions from international aviation and shipping and land use, land use change and forestry sectors are factored in.

Low carbon and environmental services is Scotland’s fastest growing sector with £10.1 billion market value in 2011-12, engaging 4,200 companies and supporting 78,000 jobs. Scotland’s overall market value is forecast to grow by 30% to £13.2 billion in the period 2011-12 to 2016-17.

Investment in Scottish renewable energy continues to grow. Between January 2010 and April 2013, the industry announced £13.1 billion of investment and over 9,000 associated jobs.

Scotland is at the forefront of the development of marine energy technologies.  There are more different wave and tidal power devices being developed and tested in Scotland than there are in any other country in the world.  In 2007, Scotland established the largest ocean energy innovation prize in the world, run in partnership with National Geographic, the world’s largest educational charity. The £10 million Saltire Prize now has 5 entrants working to produce at least 100 gigawatt hours of energy over a continuous 2-year period.      

Peterhead power station has been awarded funding from UK Government for design of CCS equipment –  a world first for a gas-fired power station.

The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to environmental leadership. Between 2008 and 2012 production increased by 11% while GHG emissions were cut by 10% through a shift to non-fossil fuel from 3% to 16% of primary energy.  Energy efficiency was up by 25% since 1999.

Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group is supporting delivery, with 140 individuals from 100 organizations, including some of the largest businesses, central government, local authorities, universities, charities and SMEs.

The Scottish Government has set out its plans to invest almost £1.3 billion over three years 2013 to 2016 in measures that will help to deliver emissions cuts. 

A nationwide programme of energy efficient LED street lighting is underway, which could save public sector £1.3 billion over 20 years (excluding financing costs).

Since 2008, loft and cavity wall insulation has been installed in over 540,000 homes through the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target scheme assisted by Scottish Government programmes. More than 58,000 energy efficiency measures - such as loft and wall insulation and new boilers - were installed in homes during 2013 under the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) which is supported by the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS), working together with local authorities. The Scottish Government will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency. 

Scotland is increasing tree planting rates close to the target level of 10,000 hectares per year. 

£15 million has been allocated for peatland restoration.

Scotland’s first statutory Climate Change Adaptation Programme will be published in 2014.

The Scottish Government is supporting developing countries on climate change by championing climate justice, and through its innovative £6 million climate justice fund, as well as taking part in UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative by developing a community renewables toolkit for developing countries.

More info

Devolved powers and competencies relevant to climate and energy

Climate change policy is a devolved area; Energy is mainly reserved with devolved responsibility for energy efficiency.

Most important economic sectors

Food and drink, chemicals, business services, electrical and instrument engineering, and mechanical engineering.

GHG breakdown by sector (%):

Power 36%
Transport 21%
Buildings 12%
Industry 1%
Agriculture/forestry 21%
Waste 4%

Current power sector mix/electricity (% of production in 2010):

Coal 29%
Gas 17%
Nuclear 30%
Oil 2%



Renewables (various) 



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