Scottish Carbon Footprint Increases

Figures released today show that Scotland’s carbon footprint is increasing. This includes emissions embedded in goods and services we buy and use and those directly produced by Scottish residents, through activities such as heating and driving.

Key points

In 2011-12, Scotland’s carbon footprint rose from 72.9 MtCO2e in 2011 to 76.8 MtCO2e in 2012, an increase of 5.3 per cent.

Scotland’s carbon footprint rose fairly steadily from 1998 to a peak of 94.3 MtCO2e in 2007 before falling sharply in the following years, coinciding with the recession, when it fell to 77.1 MtCO2e in 2009.

Scotland’s carbon footprint fell by 6.3 per cent between 1998 and 2012, from 82.0 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 1998 to 76.8 MtCO2e in 2012.

Household heating emissions rose by 10.6% in 2011-12

Commenting on the figures, Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon

“An economy powered by excessive consumption drives dangerous climate change, but often the true scale of our impact is hidden. The carbon footprint is a comprehensive measure of our climate impact not just at home but from all the goods and services we get from around the world.“

“Almost everything that we buy has a carbon cost which measures the energy, materials and water that goes into producing it. We now buy so much stuff from overseas that the impact of these spending choices is just as important as the emissions we generate here at home.

“We saw a dramatic fall in carbon footprint in 2007 because of the economic crisis. People with extra financial worries understandably spent less on luxury goods and services.

“As the economy has recovered our carbon footprint has shot up again by 5.3% in just one year from 2011-12. If we are serious about cutting our carbon footprint we need to buy less stuff, buy more locally, get help with making our homes more energy efficient and switch to public and active transport.

“Improving European product standards are helping but the Scottish Government needs to do more to make the low-carbon choice the easy ones, from transport to where we get our food and from insulating our homes to buying the right goods.”


Notes to Editors

1. Scottish Government figures: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Scotland-s-Carbon-Footprint-1998-2012-1…

2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:

* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.