19th January 2017
‘The previous interim target of 42% [reduction in greenhouse emissions] was met in 2014, six years early!’
Isn’t that brilliant, good new on a Scottish Government target? Oh, no wait a minute, she’s not finished:
‘But the Committee on Climate Change said that the decrease was largely* down to a warmer than average winter reducing the demand for heating.’
Ah, not so good then? That was the BBC Scotland report announcing new targets and reflecting on previous progress at 06.30 am today.
You might remember this really good news on wind power, from January 10th,
‘The total amount of wind energy produced on Christmas Eve was also the highest ever, with more than 74,000MWh sent to the National Grid – equivalent to the average daily electricity needs of 6.09 million homes. And, as energy use fell on Christmas Day, wind turbines provided 153 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs.’
Thirteen other news agencies including the Scotsman, STV and reddit also enthused about this ‘massive progress’! Who could have missed it? Oh yes, our massively staffed and resourced ‘national broadcaster’, BBC Reporting Scotland found no time for this story. Presumably they couldn’t find a ‘but’ for that one. Wasn’t it just freakishly windy that day? That would do.
Anyhow, back to the Committee on Climate Change which said that the decrease was ‘largely down to a warmer than average winter reducing the demand for heating.’
I found the report with the above words, sort of, at:
As you might expect the key points summarised in the report are much more positive than the extraction of that one phrase used by BBC Scotland suggests. Here they are from page 8 of the report:
‘Scotland is performing well, especially compared to other countries in the UK and the UK as a whole, although much more needs to be done. Our key messages from this analysis are:
- The annual target for 2014 was met: Net emissions fell 13% in 2014 to 41.886 MtCO2e which is 5.1 MtCO2e below the target. Scotland therefore met its legislated target. Emissions in 2014 were 45.8% lower than 1990 levels. The fall in emissions was largely due to a fall in Scotland’s share of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and warmer than average winter temperatures reducing the demand for heating in buildings. However, a part of the reduction was from domestic action. The Scottish Government are on track to meet their 2020 target.
*Notice the word ‘largely’ is used differently from the BBC News report?
- Scotland performed better than the UK as a whole in 2014: Gross Scottish greenhouse gas emissions, including international aviation and shipping, fell 8.6% in 2014. This compares to a 7.3% fall for the UK as a whole. Since 1990, gross Scottish emissions have fallen nearly 40%, compared to nearly 33% at a UK level.
- Scottish Government is largely implementing the Committee’s recommendations from our 2015 progress report: many of our 2015 recommendations are in the process of being implemented but there are notable exceptions in agriculture. The next set of policies and proposals will also have to address increased ambition required by Scottish targets (see below).
- Scotland has made good progress in a number of areas and is often leading the UK: There has been good progress in deploying renewable electricity generation capacity, and excellent progress in installing community and locally-owned energy projects (meeting their target for 500 MW of capacity early). Energy efficiency policy is well developed, especially compared to that in England, although this is yet to be reflected fully in emission reductions. 8 Reducing emissions in Scotland: 2016 Progress Report | Committee on Climate Change The Government is aiming for an integrated approach to reducing emissions from all buildings by reducing demand, improving energy efficiency and installing low-carbon heat. Progress has also been good in the waste sector with emissions falling 13% in 2014 and the introduction of a circular economy strategy and a Scottish Food Waste Reduction target.
Not a perfect report, I know, but still worth mentioning the achievements? Maybe BBC Scotland could do a full documentary? Title:
‘Scotland leads the UK in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.’