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Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2017

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

Scotland's Chief Statistician yesterday published Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2017. This publication provides estimates of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions on a consumption basis; that is 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 points:

  • 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.


  • The full statistical publication can be accessed at: 
  • 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.
  • This statistical report meets the requirements under Section 37 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and the updated requirements under Section 21 of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) Act 2019.  The data contained within this report are also used to inform National Indicator 47: “Carbon Footprint”.
  • Published territorial emissions are available in the Official Statistics publication “Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2018”
  • Further information on Scottish economic statistics can be accessed at:
  • More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:
  • Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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