Scotland meets climate change targets for first time

Roseanna Cunningham says there has been outstanding progress. Picture: PA
Roseanna Cunningham says there has been outstanding progress. Picture: PA
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Scotland has met its annual climate-change target for the first time, the latest greenhouse gas emission figures show.

The 2020 interim target to reduce emissions by 42 per cent has also been exceeded.

A reduction of 45.8 per cent had been achieved by 2014, according to the new figures.

Emissions have fallen by 12.5 per cent from 2013 to 2014 to 41.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent, with the target for 2014 having been set at 46.958 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland is making outstanding progress in reducing greenhouse gas 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 per cent 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.”

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland welcomed the figures but added it was hard to see the “bold fingerprint” of government policy driving the progress.

Jim Densham, of the group, said: “This shows it’s possible to cut emissions while building a progressive and productive society.

“However, apart from the electricity and waste sectors, it’s hard to see a bold fingerprint of Scottish Government policy driving the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“This target has been met because of the loss of heavy industry, warmer winter weather, our changing share of European emissions credits and some government policies. Individual action is important but Scottish Government needs to lead with the big policies for major emission reductions.”

Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens’ climate change spokesman said: “Today’s figures show we’ve moved in the right direction with the closure of incredibly-polluting coal-power stations and the shift away from using landfill and instead reducing and recycling waste.

“Transport remains the Scottish Government’s weak spot, with road traffic back to where it was in 2007 and the hugely-polluting aviation sector doubling its impact. If we’re to stretch our climate targets further, ministers are going to have to transform their policies and budgets.”