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Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2019

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published Scotland’s Carbon Footprint: 1998-2019. 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 2018 and 2019, Scotland’s carbon footprint (emissions from all greenhouse gases) decreased by 1.3 per cent from 76.9 in 2018 to 75.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2019.
  • Between 1998 and 2019, Scotland’s carbon footprint fell by 23.6 per cent, from 99.3 MtCO2e in 1998 to 75.9 MtCO2e in 2019.
  • Scotland’s carbon footprint rose continuously from 1999 to a peak of 112.4 MtCO2e in 2006 before falling sharply in the following years (coinciding with the recession) and, with the exception of 2018, has fallen each subsequent year. The overall reduction between the 2006 peak and 2019 is 32.5 per cent.


  1. Read the full statistical publication.
  2. 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.
  3. 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”.
  4. Published territorial emissions are available in the Official Statistics publication Scottish Greenhouse Gas Statistics 2020.
  5. Further information on Scottish economic statistics.
  6. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland. 


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