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Call for Evidence: Scottish Climate Change Bill

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing a new Scottish Climate Change Bill. Recognising progress in Scotland and the Paris Agreement, this will include an ambitious new target of reducing emissions by more than 50% on a gross basis against 1990 levels by 2020. In early 2017 the Government plans to publish a new Climate Change Plan and a new Energy Strategy, which together will set out their low-carbon infrastructure priorities.

The Committee on Climate Change has been asked by the Scottish Government to provide advice on how the new Bill may look and is seeking evidence to help with that task.

Scotland’s current Climate Change Act sets a long-term target to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80% in 2050 relative to 1990, with an interim target to reduce emissions by 42% in 2020. [1] Secondary legislation has also set a series of annual emission reduction targets for 2010 to 2032.

Since the Act was passed, the Scottish Government has failed to meet annual targets for 2010 to 2013, but met the 2014 target by a wide margin with reductions of 45.8% since 1990 – outperforming the level of the 2020 interim target.[2]

The measure of Scottish emissions under the existing Act has been subject to considerable variability over this period, masking underlying progress in reducing emissions. This has been due to revisions to the Scottish greenhouse gas inventory and changes in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) that affect the Scottish share of emissions in some years, together with variations in annual temperatures. The changes in the emissions inventory reflect improvements in scientific understanding which led to changes in the methodology for estimating emissions. Such improvements are welcome but they have made the existing annual targets, which are set on an absolute basis, more difficult to achieve. The fact that targets in 2010 to 2013 have been missed is largely due to these revisions.

Responses to this Call for Evidence will help inform the Committee’s advice to the Scottish Government, to be published in March 2017. This Call contains questions relevant to the new Bill, including the level of ambition embodied in the target, the emissions accounting framework and target-setting criteria.

Responding to the Call for Evidence

We encourage responses that are brief and to the point (i.e. a maximum of 400 words per question, plus links to supporting evidence, answering only those questions where you have particular expertise). We may follow up for more detail where appropriate.

It would be useful if you could use the question proforma when responding and e-mail responses to: communications@theccc.gsi.gov.uk. Alternatively, if you would prefer to post your response, please send it to:

The Committee on Climate Change – Scotland Call for Evidence,
7 Holbein Place,
London SW1W 8NR

The deadline for responses was 12 noon on 1 February 2017. This call for evidence has now closed.

Confidentiality and data protection

Responses will be published on this website after the response deadline, along with a list of names or organisations that responded to the Call for Evidence.

If you want information that you provide to be treated as confidential (and not automatically published) please say so clearly in writing when you send your response to the consultation. It would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded by us as a confidentiality request.

All information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure in accordance with the access to information legislation (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).


[1] Scottish emissions are calculated on a net basis under the Net Scottish Emissions Account (NSEA) which takes into account non-traded emissions, surrendered units and Scotland’s assigned EU ETS cap (known as the specified amount).
[2] https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/reducing-emissions-in-scotland-2016-progress-report/


Supporting materials
Scottish Government specification for CCC advice on the Scottish Climate Change Bill