The latest climate change statistics show Scotland’s emissions (for reporting against targets) have fallen by 12.5% year on year to 41.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2014.
This is a reduction of 45.8% from the 1990 baseline.
The new figures published also show that Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK as a whole, with a 39.5% drop in Scottish source emissions between 1990 and 2014 – compared to the UK’s 33% reduction over the same period.
Speaking on a visit to the Harlaw Hydro community renewable energy project near Edinburgh, Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:
“We are making outstanding progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and Scotland is now also one of the leading countries in Western Europe for reducing emissions.
“These statistics show that we not only met the annual 2014 emissions reduction target but also exceeded the level of our world-leading 2020 target for a 42% reduction, six years ahead of schedule.
“The reduction in residential emissions in 2014 may have been due to people turning down their heating. This underlines that small individual actions, if repeated on a large scale, can have a big impact in tackling climate change.”
Claudia Beamish, MSP, Scottish Labour’s Climate Change spokesman, commented: “It is welcome news that the government has managed to hit its own target – but with 17 million extra tonnes of Co2 in the atmosphere after four years of missed targets this is no time to be resting on laurels.
“Future targets will be much harder to meet given that they will not be able to rely on the changes in the European emissions trading system that boosted the figures in 2014.
“Scottish Labour believes that hitting targets are a means towards a carbon-free Scotland and not an end in itself. Scottish Labour welcome the Scottish Government’s official advisors’ calculation showing the need for at least a 56% reduction in emissions by 2020 and would urge the Government to take note of their advice.
“This should be coupled with an aspiration to generate 50% of our heat and transport demand from renewables by 2030 as we make our way to a low carbon economy.”