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Reducing emissions in Scotland – 2020 Progress Report to Parliament

1. Outline

This is the ninth annual Progress Report to the Scottish Parliament, required under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. It assesses Scotland’s overall progress in achieving its legislated targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The report shows that Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 31% from 2008 to 2018. This was primarily due to action to reduce emissions in the power sector, where Scottish renewable electricity generation has tripled and fossil-fuelled generation has fallen by more than 70% in the last decade. However, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2% in 2018, compared to a reduction of 3% in 2017.

2. Key findings

The report finds that, in terms of emissions reductions, priority areas for the Scottish Government are to:

  • Deliver an updated Climate Change Plan which puts Scotland firmly on course to become a Net Zero economy by 2045.
  • Develop a UK Emissions Trading System that is aligned to Net Zero, in partnership with the UK Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.
  • Set out a vision for the future of low-carbon heating in Scotland’s homes and other buildings, integrated with UK Government decisions on the future of the UK gas grid and energy taxation.
  • Develop a new rural support scheme that builds towards Scotland’s climate goals.
  • Make it easy for people to walk, cycle, use public transport, and work from home in Scotland, and ensure electric vehicle charging infrastructure and other enabling measures are in place to eliminate the need to buy a petrol or diesel car in Scotland by 2032 at the latest.
  • Lead a strong cross-government response to the most urgent national climate change risks set out in the third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment due to be published in summer 2021.
  • Accelerate investments in low-carbon and climate adaptation infrastructure to stimulate Scotland’s economy, build long-term productive capacity and improve climate resilience.
  • Engage with people and businesses in Scotland to develop skills for the net- zero transition, help people understand what the transition means for their lives, and make it easy to make low-carbon choices.