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.
There has been good progress in deploying renewable electricity generation capacity in Scotland, and excellent progress in installing community and locally-owned energy projects (meeting the target for 500 MW of capacity five years early). Energy efficiency policy is well developed and has been designated a National Infrastructure Priority, although this is yet to be reflected fully in emission reductions. Progress has also been good in the waste sector with emissions falling 13% in 2014 and the introduction of a circular economy strategy and a food waste reduction target.
However, to meet Scotland’s ambitious targets beyond 2020, much more will be required.
Whilst emissions have fallen by an average of 3.3% per year since 2009, this has been mostly due to progress in the power sector with reduced coal and expanded renewable generation. Other sectors now need urgent attention:
- There has been little progress in reducing emissions from transport, where emissions are largely unchanged from 1990 due to improved vehicle efficiency being offset by increased demand for travel as the economy has grown and fuel prices have fallen.
- In agriculture and land use, emission reductions have been slow. In forestry 8% fewer hectares of new trees were planted in 2014 compared to 2013 and annual planting targets have yet to be met.
- There has also been a slow uptake of renewable heat with projects tending to be small-scale, although capacity is increasing and district heating is more advanced than other parts of the UK.
The Scottish Government will publish a Climate Change Plan in 2017 , setting out specific policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in key sectors. The CCC’s report makes the following recommendations for this plan in order to keep Scotland on the lowest cost path to meeting its targets:
- Ensure objectives are specific, outcome-focused, and measurable to allow effective monitoring and evaluation.
- Focus on the core set of policies and actions that will have the biggest impact, particularly in transport, buildings and agriculture.
- Take into account wider benefits as well as the costs of climate change actions, e.g. improving health, saving money, alleviating fuel poverty, preserving Scottish ecosystems and biodiversity, providing local jobs and services, and helping the economy of Scotland grow.
Consultation Closed 30th May 2017
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The choices we make about energy are among the most important decisions we face. The supply of safe, reliable energy underpins the continued growth of the Scottish economy and delivery of key services. Our energy industry provides high quality jobs and a vibrant climate for innovation. Affordable energy provision is a prerequisite for healthy, fulfilling living and productive, competitive business. Scotland’s climate ambitions underpin the priorities laid out in this draft strategy consultation, determined by Scotland’s Climate Change Act.
The draft Energy Strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for the future energy system in Scotland, for the period to 2050. It articulates the priorities for an integrated system-wide approach that considers both the use and the supply of energy for heat, power and transport.
Alongside the draft Strategy we are consulting on a draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement, Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme, Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and Regulation of District Heating, and Unconventional Oil and Gas. These consultations provide focus on specific areas of the energy system and complement the consultation on the draft Energy Strategy.
The Scottish Government has undertaken a joint Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the draft Climate Change Plan and draft Energy Strategy. This assessment was undertaken in accordance with the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, to consider the likely significant environmental effects that the draft Plan and draft Strategy. The Environmental Report setting out the findings of this assessment is available for comment at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/01/9030.
Why We Are Consulting
Scotland’s electricity production has seen huge shifts in recent years, following the closure of the last coal-fired thermal stations. In this period we have achieved a huge increase in new supply of renewable electricity. However, today, the progress Scotland has already achieved leaves us with a different kind of energy challenge from that of most countries; one where heat and transport take on even greater significance than electricity.
Choices about the local supply and consumption of energy are broadening, and our patterns of energy use are also changing. There are exciting opportunities to shape our future energy system, and to help tackle the challenges of climate change, affordability of energy, and the efficiency of our energy use.
We are seeking your views on the vision for our future energy system and how we will seek to achieve this. We are all consumers of energy and have a stake in determining the future energy system.
This infographic explains how greenhouse gas emissions are reducing in Scotland. It accompanies the Committee’s 2016 mitigation progress report to the Scottish Parliament.