Scotland's carbon footprint shrinks to record low

Scotland’s carbon footprint shrank to the lowest levels ever recorded in 2017, according to the latest official figures.

The statistics reveal the environmental impact of goods and services purchased and used by Scots, wherever in the world emissions were created, as well as the direct impact from things like household heating and car use within Scotland.

The new report, from Scotland’s chief statistician, shows emissions of all greenhouse gases created by Scots across the globe and locally fell to 70.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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This represents a 3.5 per cent fall from the previous year and a 30 per cent reduction from peak levels recorded in 2017.

Official statistics show Scotland's carbon footprint - the impact Scots have on the planet through products and services they buy and use - shrank to the lowest levels ever recorded in 2017

Over the same 19-year period, emissions produced within Scotland dropped by 45.8 per cent, from 75.6 million tonnes to 41 million.

However, despite an overall reduction of 21.1 per cent since 1998, emissions created by driving have continued to rise.

Private motoring emissions jumped by 12.1 per cent from 1998 and two per cent from 2016.

Green motoring groups have said steps must be taken to cut the environmental impacts of private car use.

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Shared transport organisation Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) have said car-sharing clubs offer a practical way to cut emissions.

Lorna Finlayson, Scotland director for CoMoUK, said: “The huge fall in Scotland’s carbon footprint is very welcome, but it’s clear that private vehicle use is holding back even further progress.

“Shared transport can help achieve net-zero carbon emissions as it enables people to use transport without the need to own it, shifting to services such as car-sharing.

“There are 634,000 households in Scotland that could potentially switch from car ownership to car club membership.

“With the eyes of the world on Scotland ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, now is the time to seize the opportunity to drive down our country’s carbon footprint and build a more sustainable future for our country.”

Emissions from car club vehicles in Scotland are 43 per cent lower than for the average UK car, and 98 per cent of car club cars are compliant with low-emission zones.

Research shows that, as well as cutting the environmental impact, pay-as-you-go drivers are likely to be more physically active than their car-owning counterparts.

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