Carbon Account For Transport No. 3: 2011/12 Edition

Chapter 4: Summary

The Scottish Government is committed to tackling climate change, and has put in place a framework intended to deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions of 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (compared to a 1990 baseline).

Transport has a significant role to play in meeting these targets and a wide range of work is underway to slow the increase in transport emissions and, ultimately, to reduce transport's climate change impact. Investments in public transport infrastructure and service delivery, initiatives to encourage active travel, improving the efficiency of freight movements and the use of low carbon vehicles are all decisions being taken at the devolved level with the clear intention of reducing transport emissions. Furthermore, there is strong support from the Scottish Government for wider measures such as the New Car CO2 Regulation, the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation and the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS. These will make a long lasting and permanent reduction in Scotland's transport emissions.

Section 2 of the CAT set out the latest outturn emissions data available. It demonstrated that whilst transport continued to make up a quarter of Scotland's total emissions, transport emissions fell for a second year.

Section 2 also demonstrates that a range of key indicators that can be used to monitor public transport use, use of alternatively fuelled vehicles and fuel efficiency in transport are indicating encouraging movements towards more fuel efficient, less emitting transport behaviours.

Section 3 of the CAT demonstrates that there are several infrastructure projects where construction is underway or planned over the next few years. Whilst their GHG impacts are not measured on a like for like basis, and consequently cannot be compared against each other, it is clear that several of these are anticipated to increase emissions in the future. This reflects the fact that, in order to deliver the Scottish Government's Purpose and to work towards the strategic outcomes in the NTS, STAG is used to evaluate the performance of proposed transport schemes against five equally-weighted criteria, including Environment. This process may sometimes show that an infrastructure improvement is, on balance, the best way to achieve our objectives; nonetheless, it is still important to quantify and to minimise its emissions impacts.

Section 3 of the CAT also sets out the range of fiscal and regulatory measures, predominantly reserved, that have been committed to via the UK Budget process. The intention behind these measures generally is to encourage shifts in travel behaviour towards more fuel efficient options through charging more for inefficient practices or offering reduced rates on efficient transport choices.

Moving forward, Transport Scotland (TS) have developed a Climate Change Action Plan for the organisation and are currently developing a carbon management system (CMS), which will help measure the carbon associated with TS operations and drive continuous improvement. Over time, application of the CMS to projects will yield better information about the whole life embedded impacts of transport infrastructure projects. It is possible that these lifecycle emissions could be incorporated into the CAT once the CMS is fully established.

The purpose of the CAT is to bring greater transparency to Scotland's transport emissions and, therefore, greater accountability in transport policy. This will mean promoting those measures which reduce emissions, as well as minimising the impact of policies and projects which increase emissions. Whilst underlying factors will continue to have a significant influence on transport emissions, as specified in Chapter 2, the CAT will continue to report the marginal impact that projects and policies have upon these background emissions.