The extreme cold weather for prolonged periods of 2010 has had a major impact on Scotland’s emissions, Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson revealed today.
Some of the coldest temperatures experienced in 91 years resulted in households across Scotland being forced to keep the heating on and resulted in a significant rise in both residential and power station emissions.
Latest statistics published today indicate that Scotland's emissions rose by 1.9 per cent in 2010 on the previous year, when taking emissions trading into account. However, the longer term trend still shows a substantial emissions reduction of 24.3 per cent since 1990, over half way to the Climate Change Target of 42 per cent by 2020.
Historic emissions data has also been significantly revised upwards due to new data and changes in methodology. This revision contributes to Scottish emissions being higher than the statutory target for 2010 under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act but still showing a substantially better position than the UK as a whole with emissions in Scotland down by 24.3 per cent compared with 20.2 per cent across the UK.
In addition provisional figures from the UK Department for Energy and Climate Change indicate that emissions fell seven per cent in 2011, suggesting that emissions reductions will get back on track in 2011.
Stewart Stevenson said: “The Scottish Government remains fully committed to delivering ambitious and world-leading climate change targets. We always knew it would be a challenging path to follow when these were set and that year to year fluctuations were inevitable.
“It is therefore no surprise that domestic heating emissions rose as a result of the extreme weather. Scotland faced its coldest winter temperatures in almost a century – and quite rightly people across Scotland needed to heat their homes to keep warm and safe.
“The longer term trend reveals Scottish greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by around a quarter since 1990, signalling we are still on track to achieve the 2020 target.
“While the 2010 weather was exceptional, this early experience highlights the need to not just plan to meet the targets, but to build in some contingency as well. We remain fully committed to delivering our climate change targets and I am confident that the underlying trend remains downward.”
Later this year the Scottish Government plans to lay before Parliament its second report on proposals and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This will outline how the ambitious targets can be met well into the next decade.