To achieve Scotland’s ambitious climate targets significant emission reductions are needed across all sectors the economy, including the underlying infrastructure which supports them.

“To provide leadership and demonstrate intent, the Scottish Government should prioritise all new infrastructure investment decisions based on their contribution to the delivery of an inclusive net zero carbon economy.”

Infrastructure Commission for Scotland

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2019 included a requirement for a new methodology to improve assessment of the contribution made by infrastructure investment to Scotland’s emissions.

ClimateXChange was asked to provide options and evidence for development of this methodology. We broke the research down into three tasks:

  • Help understand approaches that could be applied
  • Explore approaches that could be used to report carbon impact associated with infrastructure spend
  • Identify potential indicator, or suite of indicators, for tracking and reporting the carbon impact of infrastructure and investment decisions over time

“In terms of adding value, CXC was very good at managing expectations and ‘scope creep’.”

Research provider

Clear and practical options

The research set out clearly defined options for how to take an approach forward, providing an evidence base for further discussions, with a focus on practical and applicable frameworks. The report we produced included discussion of the different options’ strength and weaknesses, which the Scottish Government included in a subsequent consultation on the draft national infrastructure investment plan.  This directly helped the Scottish Government respond to the requirement for a new methodology set by the Scottish Parliament.

The work particularly benefitted from two-way open dialogue throughout the setting of the research questions, designing the project and presenting the findings; this helped provide maximum value in the practical development of a new framework. In presenting the findings, the clarity on options, and their strengths and weaknesses reflected and recognised that this is a relatively new area of policy and methodological development.

“The greenhouse gas emissions and infrastructure investment decisions project has proven to be a valuable resource for Scottish Government and continues to play a useful part in the development of our thinking on these important questions. The management of the project itself was smoothly handled by CXC in all respects and they played an important role in the quality assurance of the final outputs.”

Scottish Government analytical lead