Carbon Account for Transport

Carbon Account for Transport No. 8: 2016 Edition

Carbon Account for Transport

Chapter 4: Conclusions

The Scottish Government is committed to tackling climate change, and has put in place a framework to cut emissions in 2020 to 40.7 MtCO2e and by 80% by 2050 (compared to a 1990 baseline). RPP2 set out a pathway that would keep Scotland on the trajectory to achieve this emissions reduction and now we have inventory data beyond the RPP2 timeline it is possible for the first time to directly compare the actual estimate with that suggested in RPP2. Neither set of data are built in such a way as to allow a line by line comparison but setting the aggregate positions alongside each other will be a helpful way to monitor the level of progress achieved. In 2014 Scotland met its emission reduction target and transport's aggregate emissions 12.9 MtCO2e were in line with the projections in RPP2, also 12.9 MtCO2e.

Transport must play a significant role in meeting Scotland's national targets and RPP2 set out the wide range of work already underway to bring down transport emissions. Efforts include continued significant investment in public transport infrastructure and service delivery to encourage mode shift, initiatives to encourage active travel, improving the efficiency of freight movements and the demonstration and use of low carbon vehicles across the different motorised modes. Furthermore, there is strong support from the Scottish Government for those wider measures and initiatives to reduce emissions such as new tighter emissions standards and incentives to promote alternative fuels, including the continuation of the UK Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). Together, these can help 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 seventh straight year, albeit only marginally in the latest year.

Section 2 also demonstrates through a range of key indicators monitoring public transport use, continued encouraging movements towards more fuel efficient, less polluting transport behaviours. The challenge continues to be how best to increase the speed of mode-switching and take up of these new technologies and fuel sources in our every day travel.

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 and identify other areas through which to reduce emissions.

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 move of the UK government away from full emissions impact assessments as part of the budget process has made tracking the magnitude of the impact of policy changes more difficult.

The primary purpose of the CAT remains bringing greater transparency to Scotland's transport emissions and, therefore, greater emissions accountability in transport policy. 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.