Scotland publishes the country’s carbon footprint for 1998-2017


Scotland’s Chief Statistician has published Scotland’s Carbon Footprint from 1998 to 2017, providing estimates of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis.

The new publication presents emissions that are associated with the spending of Scottish residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise, together with emissions directly generated by Scottish households.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Between 2016 and 2017, Scotland’s carbon footprint (emissions from all greenhouse gases) decreased by 3.5 per cent to a ‘record low’ of 70.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).
  • Between 1998 and 2017, Scotland’s carbon footprint fell by 21.1 per cent, from 89.6 MtCO2e in 1998 to 70.7 MtCO2e in 2017.
  • Scotland’s carbon footprint rose from 1999 onwards to a peak of 101.1 MtCO2e in 2007 before falling sharply in the following years (coinciding with the recession) and has generally fallen gradually in more recent years. The overall reduction between the 2007 peak and 2017 is 30.0 per cent.

A carbon dioxide equivalent measure is used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global warming potential by converting amounts of greenhouse gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide based on their global warming potential.

Global warming potential describes the relative potency, molecule for molecule, of a greenhouse gas, taking account of how long it remains active in the atmosphere.

The full publication can be found from the Scottish Government website.