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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 decarbonization target for energy sector of 50gCO2/kWh


  • 26.4% lower emissions in 2012 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). 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were displaced by renewable electricity generation in Scotland in 2012.
  • 9.25% reduction in final energy consumption in 2011 compared to 2005-07 baseline.

Regional Overview

GHG emissions 52.895 million tons CO2e (2012) (before adjustment for EU ETS).

The Scottish Government is committed to meeting its climate change targets. Official statistics of the 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions reductions data show that Scotland remains on track to achieving its ambitious climate change target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from a 1990 baseline. These statistics indicate that Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 0.8% in 2012 on the previous year. However, the longer term trend still shows a substantial emissions reduction of 29.9% from 1990 baseline, compared with 23.7% for the UK as whole. This is better than the average for the EU-15 and the EU-28 countries as a whole, which saw reductions of 13.9% and 18.5% respectively.

Current Activities

Scotland is better than the UK as a whole with a 29.9% reduction in Scotland’s unadjusted emissions between 1990 and 2012 compared to 23.7% across the UK. [England: 23.9%; Wales:17.7%; NI:15%] This is also better than the average for the EU-15 (13.9% reduction) and the EU-28 (18.5% reduction). The only EU-15 countries with greater reduction in emissions than Scotland between 1990 and 2012 were Finland (37.2%) and Denmark (30.3%). The UK is ranked immediately below Scotland.

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, the government 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. Meanwhile £15 million has been allocated for peatland restoration.

Scotland’s first statutory Climate Change Adaptation Programme was published in May 2014.

The Scottish Government is supporting developing countries on climate change by championing climate justice, and through its innovative £6 million Climate Justice Fund. Scotland is also taking part in the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, recently hosting the European launch of the ‘Decade of Sustainable Energy for All’ in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games and by developing a community renewables toolkit for developing countries.


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