Dundonians have biggest carbon footprints - study

Dundee produces the largest carbon footprint per capita in Scotland. Picture: Robert Perry
Dundee produces the largest carbon footprint per capita in Scotland. Picture: Robert Perry
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DUNDEE has the biggest carbon footprint north of the Border, according to a major new study.

Orcadians have the second-biggest carbon footprints in Scotland, while people in North Lanarkshire have the smallest, followed by those in Glasgow.

The report, by environment experts from eight global organisations, analysed carbon emissions per head of population across the UK and discovered that lifestyle factors have a bigger impact than geography.

The study found the carbon footprint in urban areas was only slightly lower than rural areas, mainly due to people sharing resources. However, it said the emissions were determined more “by how people live rather than where people live”.

Out of Scotland’s 32 local authority regions, 19 had carbon footprints above the UK average of 12.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person – including South Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Stirling, Eilean Siar, Highland and Shetland.

Dundee had the highest, with 13.82 tonnes per person.

Areas with smaller than average footprints included East Lothian, West Lothian, Moray and East Ayrshire. North Lanarkshire scored the lowest, with 11.79 tonnes per person.

The City of London came out worst overall, having the largest carbon footprint in the UK.

Previous research has analysed the effects of income and geographical location on carbon footprints, but lifestyle factors such as car ownership, education and household size were also included in the latest report.

It states carbon footprints increase with growing income, education, car ownership and decreasing household size.

Co-author Jan Minx, from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: “The carbon footprint of any local area can be high or low, regardless of whether the place is out in the countryside or in the city centre.

“The carbon footprint of local areas mainly depends on the socio-economic profile and associated lifestyles of the residents.”

The researchers used a computer model to represent trade activities, allowing them to allocate carbon dioxide emissions to the final consumption of goods and services in the UK, regardless of where in the world they were emitted.

Data showing lifestyle types across the UK allowed researchers to allocate the carbon footprint on a regional scale.