Scotland's greenhouse gas reduction target met during pandemic

Emissions reduced by 12% but there is a warning we should prepare for future figures to ‘substantially rebound’ for some sectors.

Scotland’s greenhouse gas reduction target met during pandemic iStock

Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2020 with the pandemic and lockdowns meaning the use of cars and aviation dropped significantly.

Between 2019 and 2020 emissions reduced by 12% overall but the Scottish Government has warned we should prepare for the figures for 2021 to ‘substantially rebound’ for some sectors.

Energy supply, from places like power stations, has seen the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the past 30 years, falling by around 75% between 1990 and 2020.

Emissions from cars was down by more than a quarter between 2019 and 2020 with domestic aviation dropping by just over 60%.

Domestic transport remains the largest source of emissions followed by business and agriculture.

Emissions fell overall by 58.7% between 1990 and 2020, meaning that Scotland has met its climate target of cutting emissions by 56% during that period.

Net zero secretary Michael Matheson said: “There can be no satisfaction taken in emissions reductions resulting from the health, economic and social harms of the pandemic.

“However, the data does provide a valuable lesson regarding the scale of the transformational change needed in response to the climate emergency and shows that embedding habits such as working from home and using cars less can make a real impact on reducing emissions.

 “With emissions down by well over 50% since 1990, Scotland is making long-term progress towards net zero despite the constraints of devolved powers.”

Chair of the campaign group Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Mike Robinson said: “Crucially, we need the Scottish Government to treat climate change as the emergency it declared it to be back in 2019, securing long-term reductions to emissions, while delivering a green recovery.

“To achieve this, we need to see more ambitious action in all sectors, in particular transport, agriculture and housing.

“People are rightly worried about food and fuel costs and recovering from COVID19.

“With the cost of living crisis largely driven by fossil fuel prices, there are many reasons to deliver against climate targets.”

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