This report details a study to produce a set of ‘air and energy accounts’ for Scotland for all years from 1998 to 2018, equivalent to ONS UK Environmental Accounts tables on Emissions and Energy. It supports implementation of the policies and proposals within the current Climate Change Plan published in 2018.

A set of air and energy accounts provides the Scottish Government with information to more accurately monitor changes in emissions and energy use of sectors in relation to their economic output and employment. In particular, the outputs are intended to:

  • Improve the Scottish Government’s knowledge and understanding of how emissions and energy use have changed over time, by sector.
  • Allow direct comparison of emissions and energy use with economic variables such as Gross Value Added (GVA), employment and turnover, by sector.
  • Enable more accurate tracking of targets and metrics such as industrial emissions intensity (ratio between emissions and economic output) and energy productivity (ratio between energy use and economic output), by sector.
  • Improve estimation of environmental impacts of economic events – enabling improvements in environmental input-output analysis and understanding of the environmental impact of public-sector expenditure.


  • Significant differences in emissions per unit of GVA between Scotland and the UK were found in the crude petroleum, natural gas and metal ores sector. The measure has reduced from a 2009 high, but the industry has been around 1.5 and 2 times more emissions intensive in Scotland than the UK as a whole since 2012.
  • The coke, refined petroleum products and petrochemicals sector in Scotland has increased emissions per unit of GVA since 2006 while the same measure continued to decrease in the UK. The divergence is likely to be in part due to the closure of emissions intensive facilities in England and Wales resulting in Grangemouth in Scotland having a greater share of the UK’s refining capacity.
  • Emissions intensity in the agriculture, hunting and related services sector has increased since 2007, and has been consistently higher than in the rest of the UK from then on. Since the closure of Scotland’s coal-fired power stations, this has been the highest emitting sector by a significant margin.
  • Consumer expenditure travel and non-travel are the second and third highest emitting sectors, mostly due to cars, and domestic heating and hot water systems. Emissions per capita in Scotland do not differ significantly from the rest of the UK.
  • In contrast, the emissions intensity of the beverages and tobacco manufacturing industry has fallen dramatically from 2000, and is now lower than in the UK as a whole.


Supporting data