Scotland’s world leading climate legislation is being let down by reports that fail to show a clear picture of public sector action, new research shows in a report published on the final day of consultation for a new system of reporting.
Friends of the Earth Scotland examination of climate change reporting by local authorities has found that they are partial and inconsistent. The lack of uniform reporting standards combined with some authorities’ failure to report means that it is not possible to assess the extent to which this sector has contributed to the emissions reductions targets for Scotland.
Report co-author Matthew Crighton of Friends of the Earth Scotland commented:
“Public bodies in Scotland should be able to tell us what their greenhouse gas emissions have been and how much they have changed from year to year. Under reporting so far we can tell that they are making an effort but we can’t tell if their hard work has really paid off. The new mandatory public sector reporting must learn from the failings of the current voluntary system.”
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act placed public bodies under a duty to help meet the targets in the Act for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The reports made by local authorities are submitted to the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN).
Matthew Crighton continued “At a time when our national targets are being missed we need high quality reporting from all major emitters of greenhouse gases and we think the public sector should lead the way on this. It should build on the good start made when all the local authorities signed the Scottish Climate Change Declaration and be spurred on by the Climate Change Act to develop really world-leading reporting systems.”
The recommendations from Friends of the Earth Scotland to the current Scottish Government consultation on introducing mandatory reporting for public bodies will emphasise that reliable and consistent data on actual emissions reductions must be a key outcome of future reporting; and that the Scottish Government should use these reports to report on the overall reductions by the public sector.
The report confirms that the Climate Change Act and the Public Bodies Duty within it have stimulated organisations in the public sector to prepare Carbon Management Plans and that real reductions in emissions have been achieved.
Matthew Crighton concluded “There are already a number of pioneers. The reports submitted show the diversity of actions which have be taken, including the introduction of LED street lighting by local authorities, Combined Heat and Power schemes by universities and NHS Boards and investment in new boilers by hospitals.”
Notes for Editors:
1.Read the Emissions Reductions Reporting by Scottish Local Authorities Report http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/public-body-emission-report
The research was carried out by Katerina Michailidou and Matthew Crichton and includes survey responses from 30 public bodies.
2. The Scottish Government consultation on the climate change reporting requirement of public bodies closes on Friday 29th May http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/02/5065
3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
*Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
*An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
*Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.