Scotland has made good progress to reduce emissions in order to tackle climate change, according to a new report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
The CCC today published it first progress report on emission reductions in Scotland, as requested by Scottish Ministers under the Climate Change Act (2009).
The study found emissions fell in Scotland by 7% in 2009, mainly due to the impact of the recession and a reduction in economic output.
Emissions are however likely to have risen in 2010, as a result of the cold temperatures at the start and end of 2010, and due to increased economic activity.
The Committee assessed the progress that has been made towards meeting legally binding targets to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020, finding that:
• Good progress has been made to invest in renewable forms of electricity, with new capacity being added to the grid at the rate required to meet targets.
• There has been outperformance of targets for renewable heat.
• Preparations are progressing for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, including putting in place a regulatory framework for each stage of CCS.
• There has been some progress made in improving the efficiency of buildings, purchasing more efficient vehicles, piloting public transport initiatives and in encouraging farmers to take up
measures to tackle climate change.
However, in order to sustain this progress, the report suggests new policies will be required, and there is an important role for the Scottish Government to play in ensuring that UK-wide policies are adopted in Scotland such as helping to ensure that policies like the Green Deal, Renewable Heat Incentive and Electricity Market Reform are effective.
There are also some areas of policy that are devolved to the Scottish Government and where they could have an impact in ensuring emission reductions are achieved.
These include encouraging more people to use public transport, through rolling-out the Smarter Choices scheme, and by encouraging farmers to take action to reduce emissions and protect the carbon stocks in Scotland’s peat land soils.
David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the CCC said: “Good progress has been made by the Scottish Government in reducing emissions across the economy. Going forward, it will be important for the Scottish Government to continue to support the implementation of policies at both UK and national level to further cut emissions, resulting in climate change and wider economic benefits.”