Chapter 4: Summary

Chapter 4: Summary

The Scottish Government is committed to tackling climate change, and has put in place a framework 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 those wider measures such as the new car CO2 regulation, the RTFO and the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS. Together, all of 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 third 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 explains the likely future impact from the infrastructure projects underway. While the emissions impacts from these projects are not measured on a like for like basis, and consequently cannot be compared against each other, it is clear that some interventions are expected to increase future emissions albeit by relatively small amounts. The STAG process is though about more than emissions so may show that an infrastructure improvement is, on balance, the best way to achieve the overall Government Purpose. That said, it is still important to quantify and to minimise the emissions impacts of each project.

Section 3 of the CAT sets also out the range of fiscal and regulatory measures, predominantly reserved, that have been committed to usually via the EU or 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 has developed a Climate Change Action Plan for the organisation and is currently exploring a carbon management system (CMS), which will help measure the carbon associated with TS operations and drive continuous improvement. Over time, the application of a CMS to projects should yield better information about the whole life embedded impacts of transport infrastructure projects. It is possible that these lifecycle emissions could eventually be incorporated into the CAT.

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 the underlying factors set out in Chapter 2 will continue to have a major influence on overall transport emissions, the CAT will continue to report the marginal impact that projects and policies are likely to have upon overall emissions.