Scottish annual carbon budget - a world first

The Scottish government last week laid claim to another environmental first with the launch of a detailed carbon budget for all public sector activities.

The carbon assessment was released alongside the 2010-2011 budget and revealed that the government expects its spending on hospitals, schools, roads, local government and other core services to result in 11.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Finance secretary John Swinney said the new data would help the government to ensure climate change considerations inform all its future spending decisions.

"By publishing our carbon assessment of the Budget, we are taking a significant, and to some extent experimental, step towards recognising carbon implications in the Budget process," he said. "The Scottish government is not aware of any other government in the world committed to delivering this work with their budgets and - once again - Scotland is proving to be a world leader in addressing climate change."

The move is the latest in a series of initiatives from the Scottish government designed to position the country as a major clean tech hub and establish it as one of the world's lowest-carbon economies.

Earlier this summer, the government passed one of the world's most ambitious climate change bills, committing Scotland to cutting emissions by at least 42 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020.

The government also recently unveiled plans to develop a "zero-waste society" and has invested heavily in a number of marine and renewable energy research and development centres.

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