Scotland second to Sweden in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Western Europe

The country managed a reduction of 39.5 per cent from 1990 to 2014

Hilary Duncanson
Sunday 31 July 2016 20:57 BST
A planned new climate change bill would set a target to reduce emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020
A planned new climate change bill would set a target to reduce emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020 (GETTY)

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Environmental campaigners have welcomed figures showing that Scotland has achieved the second-highest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Western Europe over a quarter of a century.

Figures released by the Scottish Government reveal that the country managed a reduction of 39.5 per cent from 1990 to 2014.

This compared with drops of around 34 per cent for England and 33 per cent for the UK as a whole.

In Western Europe, Scotland's figures were bettered only by Sweden, which saw a decline of 54.5 per cent over the same period.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "It's great to see more evidence that Scotland is in the vanguard when it comes to tackling climate change in Europe. Thanks to strong Government leadership over the years we've embraced renewables, helping to de-carbonise our power sector.

"However, looking ahead there is no room for complacency if Scotland is to maintain its position as a leader on climate change and to capture the many social, health and economic benefits of moving to a zero-carbon future.

"Outside of the electricity and waste sectors, progress to cut carbon has been far too slow."

He added that the Scottish Government's new climate action plan, due by the end of the year, offers a chance to set out "transformational" plans.

"Sectors in need of urgent attention include transport, where emissions remain stuck at 1990 levels and housing, with too many families wasting cash and carbon heating the outside of their leaky homes," he said.

Ministers plan to introduce a new climate change bill which will set a target to reduce emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2020.

Commenting on the latest figures, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "Scotland is a world-leader in tackling climate change, and these figures reaffirm that Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the UK as a whole and punch above its weight in international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions."

But she added: "Climate change is a global challenge and other countries must step up to match Scotland's levels of ambition and action if the goal in last year's international Paris Climate Change Agreement of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius is to be realised."

The figures do not include emissions from offshore sources, such as the oil and gas industry, and they do not include any adjustments for the effect of the EU Emissions Trading System.

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