Jun 28, 2020 | Emissions, Government

Scotland misses its annual greenhouse gas target

On 16th June, the Scottish Government released its report on 2018 greenhouse gas emission data showing that Scotland has missed its annual target for reducing emissions. Emissions actually increased 1.5% between 2017 and 2018. Much stronger policy and financial commitment is needed to meet the net-zero target by 2045. We also need proper support and funding for community-led actions using  local knowledge to create appropriate solutions; such effective responses have been well demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis.

The largest contributor to Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions is transport,accounting for 31% of the total emissions of 41.6 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2018.


Bar chart of Scottish GHG emissions 2018 by sector

Sources of Scottish greenhouse gas emissions 2018 (MtCO2e)


Between 1990 and 2018, there was a 45.4% reduction in estimated emissions (34.6 MtCO2e decrease), due largely due to moving to cleaner energy. Waste management and business emissions also decreased. Changes in land use and forestry absorbed more carbon. The largest factor slowing the overall reduction is transport (excluding international) which has only decreased 4.9 % since 1990, compared to the overall trend of 45.4 % decrease.

Graph of Scottish GHG emissions 1990-2018

Scottish greenhouse gas emissions 1990-2018 (MtCO2e)


Not shown on the graph are international shipping and aviation emissions, which have increased 45% (0.6 MtCO2e) over the period.