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New government statistics show transport is holding back action on climate change

Published 12 June 2018 by Transform Scotland

New statistics published today by the Scottish Government have revealed that transport is the largest source of carbon emissions in Scotland — and emissions are increasing.

The Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2016 publication shows changes in emissions from each sector in Scotland between 2015 and 2016, as  well as long-term changes against the 1990 baseline targets.

The data shows a 49% reduction in overall carbon emissions between 1990 and 2016, yet over the same period emissions from transport fell by less than 3%. With other sectors having made significant efforts to cut carbon emissions, transport now accounts for over 37% of national emissions.

Transport emissions increased by over 2% in 2016 — the third consecutive year that emissions from the sector have increased. The increase in emissions comes from cars, vans and trucks, which remain the biggest source of transport emissions in Scotland.

The new statistics reflect the Scottish Government’s continued priority given to private cars, such as the £9 billion road building programme currently underway. Investment in low carbon public transport is comparatively small and the Government is failing to increase the number of journeys being made by public transport, on foot or by bike.

Commenting on the new statistics, Transform Scotland spokesperson Jamie Wylie said:

“These new statistics show yet again that the Scottish Government is failing to take transport emissions seriously. It’s no surprise that transport emissions are failing to reduce, given the Government’s multi-billion spending on road-building and its continued support for private car use ahead of sustainable and low carbon public transport.

“Whilst the overall decrease in national carbon emissions is very welcome, it’s clear for all to see that transport is holding back Scotland’s action on climate change. If the Government wants to cut emissions from transport, we need to re-balance transport spending and invest in clean, affordable and convenient public transport and walking and cycling, instead of yet more road building. Not only would this cut carbon emissions, but it would present an opportunity to clean up our air, cut congestion and tackle Scotland’s public health crisis.”  

Wylie continued:

“The huge increase in aviation emissions shows that the Government was right to shelve a cut to Air Passenger Duty, which would have caused yet more emissions from this most polluting form of transport.” 

The statistics can be found here.