Chapter 4: Conclusions

Chapter 4: Conclusions

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). The recently published RPP2 sets out a pathway that will keep Scotland on the trajectory to achieve this emissions reduction.

Transport has a significant role to play in meeting these national targets and RPP2 sets out the wide range of work underway to bring down transport emissions. Investment 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 CO2e regulation and the UK Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). Together, 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 fourth year.

Section 2 also demonstrates through a range of key indicators monitoring public transport use, use of alternatively fuelled vehicles and fuel efficiency in transport are showing 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 recording emissions impact so an appraisal 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 also sets 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 active and 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 Carbon Management Plan for the organisation and currently reports on the corporate operational carbon emissions performance within the Transport Scotland Sustainability Report 2012/1343. Transport Scotland's target is to reduce emissions by 16% by 2015-16 from a 2010/11 baseline. Detail of current progress against this target and the latest year's performance can be found in the Annual Report and Accounts and an updated Carbon Management Plan was published September 201344.

The purpose of the CAT is to bring greater transparency to Scotland's transport emissions and, therefore, greater emissions accountability in transport policy. This will mean promoting those measures which reduce emissions, as well as minimising the impact of policies and projects that 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 the overall emissions pathway.