Scotland’s carbon footprint down 11.5% in year to 2020

Official data shows it decreased 6.3 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent from 2019.

Scotland’s carbon footprint down 11.5% in year to 2020 PA Media

Scotland’s carbon footprint fell 11.5% in a year, according to official statistics.

The country’s carbon footprint is based on estimates of the consumption of greenhouse gas emissions.

Data from Scotland’s chief statistician shows the carbon footprint fell from 55.1 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2019 to 48.8 million tonnes in 2020 – a decrease of 6.3 million tonnes and a drop of 11.5%.

It is the lowest level since recording began in 1998, however 2020 covered the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and travel restrictions which may have accounted for some of the drop.

This impacted consumption-based emissions, according to the report, especially transport ones generated directly from households, which fell by 24.4% in 2020.

Between 1998 and 2020 – the most recent year available – Scotland’s carbon footprint fell by 33.3% from 73.1 MtCO2e to 48.8.

The figures also show the nation’s carbon footprint rose continuously from 2001 to a peak of 81.2 MtCO2e before going through sharp falls in the following years, with the exception of 2012 and 2018.

The overall reduction between the 2007 peak and 2020 is 40%, a fall of 32.5 MtCO2e, the statistics show.

However, the figures also show that greenhouse gas emissions embedded in imported goods and services from overseas accounted for 45.9% of the country’s carbon footprint in 2020, up from 37.4% in 1998.

Those embedded in UK-produced goods were at 32.1% in 2020, down from 44.5% in 1998.

Emissions produced directly by Scottish residents was at 22% in the latest year, up from 18.1% in 1998.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “These statistics reflect the unprecedented drop in territorial emissions in Scotland due to the pandemic in 2020.

“This government’s commitment to ending Scotland’s contribution to global emissions as soon as possible, and by 2045 at the latest, is unwavering.

“With emissions in Scotland already nearly cut in half, we are well positioned to continue leading on climate action that is fair, ambitious and capable of rising to the emergency before us.”

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