New report on carbon abatement potential for Scotland’s public sector

The Scottish Government has released a report by the Carbon Trust that estimates the carbon abatement potential of the Scottish public sector.  The work was commissioned to inform the recently published draft of Low Carbon Scotland: proposals and policies ("RPP2"), which focuses on how Scotland's climate change targets for 2023-2027 can be achieved. The Carbon Trust's work was based on analysis of 138 carbon management plans across the Scottish public sector, and its own proprietary database of carbon reduction recommendations made to the public sector.

Baseline emissions of 3.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions were identified for the Scottish public sector.  Local authorities make up 63% of the baseline, with NHS and Higher Education accounting for 17% and 11% respectively. Buildings emissions are the largest source, at 67%, with transport and waste accounting for 13% and 17%.

The report identified a potential reduction in emissions across the public sector of 27% (some 688 ktCO2).  Behaviour change and building measures lead to the greatest annual savings but renewables and building measures lead to greatest lifetime savings.

The current average rate of implementation of recommended measures across the public sector is around 32%. However, with an accelerated programme, implementation of all measures could be reasonably achieved by 2020.  To realise these potential savings, a number of critical barriers will need to be overcome relating to senior leadership, procurement, finance, availability of resources, and split incentives.

The total energy savings, including both traded and non traded sectors, from implementing all measures would equate to a cumulative total of 2,119 GWh by 2020. By 2014 this could represent a saving of approximately 950 GWh.

The scale of capital investment required to implement all measures in carbon management plans both cost effective and non-cost effective is estimated at £400m

A full technical version of the report has also been produced and is available on the Scottish Government website:

Potential Carbon Abatement from the Scottish Public Sector - Summary report

Potential Carbon Abatement from the Scottish Public Sector - Full technical report