GREENHOUSE gas emissions continued to fall in 2019, but Scotland missed its climate change target.

The latest statistics show a reduction of the greenhouse gas account of 51.5% in 2019 from the baseline period, 4 points short of the 55% reduction called for in Scottish Parliament legislation.

It is the third time the Scottish Government’s climate change targets have been missed – last year, the 2018 figures also fell short of the reductions set by the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.

A report released today showed emissions in 2019 were 2.3% lower than 2018, with the reduction mainly coming from the business, energy supply and domestic transport sectors.

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There was negligible change in the international aviation, agriculture and shipping sectors.

Domestic transport was the largest sector contributing to climate change emissions, producing the equivalent of 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) in 2019.

Business and agriculture were the next-largest sources of emissions at 7.9 and 7.5 MtCO2e respectively.

In what was described as a “major revision” in the way greenhouse gases are accounted, the land use sector is now considered to be a net-source of emissions rather than a carbon sink.

The report said: “Previously this category has been shown to be a net-sink of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.

“The reason for this revision is the inclusion of the effect of historical drainage and rewetting of peatlands that previously were not included in the data.”

Between 2018 and 2019, overall emissions from the UK were estimated to have fallen by 2.6%.

Mark Ruskell, environment spokesman for the Scottish Greens, said: “This is the third year in a row where Scotland has missed our emissions targets, and the Scottish Government need to wake up to the urgency required.

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“Forests and peatlands are natural carbon sinks, and we are not protecting our wild places enough or supporting farmers to lower emissions.”

Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Today’s climate target result makes clear that Scotland needs to do more on climate change.

“Despite some positive progress in key sectors including transport and heat, the pace continues to fall short of where we need to be if we’re to meet our net zero ambitions.”

The Scottish Government is due to make a ministerial announcement on the figures this afternoon.