Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statistics for 2022 – a summary of the results

  • 25 Jun 2024
  • Blog

By Lloyd Austin, Policy Advisor to SCCS

The latest official statistics on Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions were published on 18 June 2024.

Key headlines:

  • The total greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland in 2022 was 40.6 MtCO2e.
  • This is a reduction of 50.1% from 1990, which missed the target of 53.8%
  • It was a decline of 0.1% from the 2021 figure.
  • This means that Scotland has now missed nine out of the last 13 annual targets (and, for two of those that were met, it was due to the restrictions introduced to address the COVID pandemic).
  • The 3.8% ‘gap’ between the target and the outcome is more than 3 MtCO2e (roughly equivalent to half the total emissions from buildings or to the combined emissions from aviation, shipping and waste).

Details of emissions by sector:

(charts taken from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Greenhouse Gas Statistics 2022 report)

Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Territorial Emissions Statistics Sector, 2022

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  • This shows that domestic transport continues to be the highest emitting sector, followed by agriculture and buildings. 
  • Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions are ‘net’ data – a mix of sinks, like trees, and sources, like degraded peatlands.
  • IA&S = international aviation and shipping

Change in net emissions by Territorial Emissions Statistics Sector between 1990 and 2022 

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  • This shows that between 1990 and 2022, the electricity sector has made the most progress in reducing emissions, as a result of the closure of coal power stations and expansion of renewables.
  • Agriculture and domestic transport, the two highest emitting sectors, have seen very small changes.
  • LULUCF has shown positive (net) trends since 1990 – primarily due to forest expansion and peatland efforts, although this trend reversed between 2021-22, as shown below.

Change in net emissions by Territorial Emissions Statistics Sector between 2021 and 2022.

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  • This shows that between the last two years for which we have data for, many sectors have seen an increase in emissions. 
  • International aviation and shipping and domestic transport increased significantly since 2021, showing a rebound in travel from the pandemic.
  • The reduction in emissions from buildings since 2021 was significant but the report notes that “a combination of elevated fuel prices and relatively mild temperatures at the start of 2022 being principally responsible for this drop”.
  • Therefore, agriculture, transport and buildings remain the ‘big three’ sectors where action to reduce emissions is urgently required.


  • While reductions have reached 50% from the baseline, the overall rate of reductions is falling.
  • In the annual changes since 2021, reductions have mainly been delivered by outside forces (fuel prices and weather), while the increases have been a result of policy failures and lack of funding by UK and Scottish Governments.
  • As the SCCS response noted “These results illustrate the failing that we and many others … have been highlighting for several years, and action continues to be particularly lacking in heating, transport, and agriculture”. 
  • The Cabinet Secretary’s statement highlighted the impact of UK/reserved issues, and stressed that the emissions reductions trends for the UK as a whole were similar to Scotland’s. However, lack of action in devolved areas (especially domestic transport, heat in buildings and agriculture) are also largely to blame. 
  • Under climate legislation, the missed target requires “the Scottish Ministers [to] lay a report before the Scottish Parliament setting out proposals and policies to compensate in future years for the excess emissions”.