MSPs have said the increase is a particular concern as it follows a 19% fall in the country’s carbon footprint in 2009.

From 1998, the footprint rose by 15% to a peak of 101.1 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2007 before falling to 78.7 MtCO2e in 2009.

In 2010, Scotland’s carbon footprint was 82.2 MtCO2e, 6% less than in 1998 (87.9 MtCO2e) but a significant rise on the previous year.

The footprint of 82.2 MtCO2e includes emissions associated with goods and services bought in as well as those generated in the country.

Imports, due to a lack of manufacturing, are cited as the reason behind the increase, and there has been a 5% rise in emissions from private motoring since 1998.

Green MSP for Glasgow and co-convener of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie, said that it is “deeply worrying” that Scotland’s carbon footprint has “returned to an upward trajectory”, citing changes to Government policy as a possible solution to the issue.

Harvie said: “It appears to bear out our prediction that without real policy change, the reductions which were caused by the recession would be wiped out, and that emissions would rebound as economic recovery began.

“Scotland is currently missing the opportunity to build a more equal, more sustainable and more resilient economy, which meets people’s needs without destroying the environmental conditions we depend upon. Just a few short years after passing the Climate Change Act, we’re falling ever further behind our own targets,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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