Scotland’s carbon emission level in 2014 was around 46% lower than its emission levels in 1990 — meaning that the country has managed to achieve its 2020 target of 42% lower emissions, and even beat it, a full 6 years early.
The announcement of the achievement was made by Scotland’s climate change secretary, Roseanna Cunningham. The announcement made note of the fact that Scotland had nearly achieved its 2020 goals in 2013 as well — when emissions were lowered around 38% as compared to 1990 levels.
The announcement included the release of statistics showing a year-on-year decrease of 12.5%, with carbon dioxide emissions falling to 41.9 million tonnes equivalent in 2014.
Taking Scotland’s long-term goals into account, the country still has quite a ways to go. The Scottish Climate Change Act called for an 80% cut in carbon emissions (as compared to 1990 levels) by 2050.
The climate change secretary noted that the country was likely to now set a tougher 2020 target, in response to the early achievement of the current 2020 goal.
“We will continue to rise to the challenge and the First Minister has already confirmed that the Scottish Government plans to establish a new and more testing 2020 target,” Cunningham noted. “We are not complacent and we will continue to take action and encourage others to do their bit to tackle climate change.”
Cunningham also noted that the 2014 drop was partly the result of lower residential emissions, as a result of reduced heating, thus underlying the fact that “small individual actions, if repeated on a large scale, can have a big impact in tackling climate change.”
A campaigner for Stop Climate Chaos Scotland by the name of Jim Densham commented that, despite the good news, stronger actions were needed, as the achievement was largely the result of declining (local) industrial activity and warm weather. “Apart from the electricity and waste sectors, it’s hard to see a bold fingerprint of Scottish Government policy driving the transition to a zero carbon economy. This target has been met because of the loss of heavy industry, warmer winter weather, our changing share of European emissions credits and some government policies.”
Going on: “Individual action is important but Scottish Government needs to lead with the big policies for major emission reductions. The challenge ahead is to tackle the sectors where there’s been little change to date, like transport where our emissions remain stalled at 1990 levels and housing where emissions have reduced only 1% since the Scottish Climate Change Act was passed.”
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