1. Introduction

Carbon Account For Transport Volume 9, 2017

1. Introduction

This is the ninth edition of the Carbon Account for Transport. It is presented in a more concise format to previous reports for ease of use. For the first time, this edition includes time series data tables alongside the main report, as well as the usual infographics depicting key headlines. This year’s edition also contains a detailed examination of low emissions buses in Scotland.

1.1 Policy Context

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 created a statutory framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. It includes annual and interim emissions targets with the overall aim of achieving an 80% reduction in emissions in 2050 against the 1990 baseline[1]

To help achieve the emissions reductions targets, The Scottish Government publishes regular statements and plans setting out how they can be achieved.  Work on the latest Climate Change Plan (CCP)[2] is underway, and will be published in early 2018.  This will set out a possible emissions pathway to 2032, alongside policy options to achieve the annual targets. 

Emissions from transport are dependent on a number of factors, including the state of the economy. The key challenge for transport in the context of greenhouse gas emissions is to decouple rising demand from emissions increases as much as possible. The next decade will be critical in setting road transport in particular on a pathway to decarbonisation, with other sectors to follow suit in due course.

1.2 Purpose of the Carbon Account for Transport

Reducing emissions is one of the key strategic outcomes of the National Transport Strategy. It includes a commitment to publish a carbon balance sheet for transport to show the impact of policies and projects expected to have an impact on transport emissions, whether positive or negative. This commitment is met by the Carbon Account for Transport (CAT), which is published annually.

The CAT provides updates on the following information:

  • Scottish transport emissions from 1990 to 2015
  • Comparison of Scottish emissions with those of the UK as a whole, and other UK nations
  • Emissions efficiency estimates across different modes of transport
  • Key leading transport emissions indicators
  • Scottish transport infrastructure projects likely to have a significant impact on emissions
  • Scottish, UK and EU wide regulatory and fiscal measures likely to impact emissions

Each of the above monitors progress towards reducing transport emissions and support the development of future policies to meet the statutory targets. However, the CAT is not a decision making tool. Its purpose is to present data and analysis for the consideration of future transport options. The CAT is an element of a wider framework adopted across The Scottish Government to monitor emissions.