Greenhouse Gas Emissions

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 13 June 2013.

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Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

8. To ask the Scottish Government whether the Scottish greenhouse gas inventory will show that the emission target for 2011 has been reached, and whether the shortfall resulting from the missed target in 2010 has been compensated for. (S4O-02259)

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

Official statistics on emissions of greenhouse gases in Scotland were published on 7 June 2013. Unadjusted figures show that Scotland’s direct emissions fell by 9.9 per cent between 2010 and 2011. However, once the effect of emissions trading was factored in, the net Scottish emissions account fell by only 2.9 per cent. The result is that Scotland’s statutory climate change target for 2011 has been missed by 0.848 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Annual fluctuations in emissions are to be expected, but Scotland’s long-term trend is in the right direction: emissions are down by more than a quarter since 1990. When the targets were set, a 23.9 per cent reduction in 2011 after adjusting for emissions trading was envisaged; we actually achieved a 25.7 per cent reduction. To compare like with like, we have cut emissions more than any country in the European Union 15.

The Scottish ministers plan to publish the finalised second climate change report on proposals and policies—RPP2—on 27 June. That report will show how we can compensate for the excess emissions in 2010 and 2011 over the longer term.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

The short answers being no and no, does the minister accept that that news justifies the view that many have expressed that ambitious climate change targets can be achieved only with a radical change of policy, or does he imagine that the Scottish Government can carry on building every road, expanding every airport and even burning Mr Fraser’s 26 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, and climate change emission cuts will happen by wishing for them?

Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

I am not sure whether Mr Fraser actually owns the 26 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, but he can respond to that point himself.

The serious point is that we recognise the severity of the challenges that we face globally and in Scotland to achieve what are still the world’s leading climate change targets, as I said on the record the other day, and we still have world-leading ambition. We recognise that we have to deliver. As I said, and to pick up the point about saying no and no, RPP2, which is in draft form and will be finalised later this month, will show that we can recoup the lost ground over the longer term. We can address the emissions overshoot.

Mr Harvie should recognise—I think that I made this point to him earlier this week—that we face a situation in which the baseline in 1990 has moved by about 2.5 megatonnes, but we missed the target this year by 0.848 megatonnes. As I said, we have had a faster rate of descent than was envisaged for the percentage reduction by 2011. We have to do more, the Government is committed to doing more and we will do our best to demonstrate that on 27 June.