Environment and Energy

SB 17-17 Energy

15 March 2017
This briefing provides an introduction to key themes and global trends in the energy sector. It addresses reducing demand, renewable technologies, energy for electricity, transport and heat.

SB 17-07 Draft Climate Change Plan and Scotland's Climate Change Targets

30 January 2017
The Scottish Government published ‘The draft Climate Change Plan – The draft third report on policies and proposals 2017-2032 ’ on 19 January 2017.

SB 16-97 Implications of Leaving the EU – Environment

5 December 2016
This briefing highlights the EU framework that relates to environment policy and explores the implications that leaving the EU may have on Scotland’s approaches to the environment.

SB 16-91 Brexit: Energy Policy

16 November 2016
This briefing sets out the EU energy policy framework and explores the implications that Brexit may have on Scotland and the UK’s approaches to energy policy.

SB 16-85 Implications of Leaving the EU – Climate Change

1 November 2016
This briefing highlights the EU framework that relates to climate change policy and explores the implications that leaving the EU may have on Scotland’s approaches to tackling climate change.

SB 16-63 Unconventional Gas: Frequently Asked Questions

11 July 2016
This briefing considers some of the issues surrounding the extraction of unconventional gas in Scotland, which is currently subject to a moratorium, and has attracted a significant amount of scrutiny in recent months.

SB 16-44 Marine and Fisheries: Subject Profile

25 May 2016
This briefing provides an overview of the main issues related to marine and fisheries.

SB 16-42 Environment: Subject Profile

25 May 2016
This briefing provides an overview of the main issues within the environment portfolio.

SB 16-41 Climate Change: Subject Profile

25 May 2016
This briefing provides an overview of the main climate change issues.

SB 16-35 Air Quality in Scotland

10 May 2016
This briefing discusses the origins and impacts of air pollution in Scotland, with reference to the relevant legislation and the various strategies designed to improve air quality.

SB 16-08 Paris 2015 Climate Summit- Outcomes and Implications for Scotland

21 January 2016
This briefing summarises some of the key issues that are included in the new global agreement aimed at tackling climate change and several issues and challenges associated with it.

SB 16-01 Domestic Energy Efficiency Schemes in Scotland

8 January 2016
Throughout the winter, levels of interest in energy efficiency schemes rise significantly. This short briefing provides a summary of relevant domestic schemes in Scotland.

SB 15-84 Food for Thought: Scotland and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

16 December 2015
This briefing examines genetically modified organisms (GMOs), focussing principally on GM crops.

SB 15-63 Paris 2015: UN Climate Negotiations

06 October 2015
Briefing sets out the background to the United Nations climate change conference, the expectations for the meeting, commitments that have been made in advance, and some of the challenges in securing a global agreement.

SB 15-40 Good for climate, good for health

21 July 2015
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires a reduction in Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Policies for reducing emissions can also provide benefits for public health.

SB 15-06 The UK Committee on Climate Change

16 January 2015
This briefing outlines the duties on the Committee, particularly those that relate to Scotland and the role the Committee plays in fulfilling the advice and reporting requirements set out in the Climate Change (Scotla

SB 14-78 Scotland's climate emissions targets and trends: November 2014

5 November 2014
This note prepared by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) summarises changes in Scotland's climate emissions since 1990 and progress towards Scotland's climate targets.

SB 14-77 Draft Budget 2015-16: Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment

31 October 2014
This briefing details the amount of funding for each area, says what it pays for, and sets out how each area is performing against national indicators

SB 14-66 Climate Change: The Latest United Nations Science

30 September 2014
This briefing summarises the findings of three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports published in 2013 and 2014 that together comprise the Fifth Assessment Report.

SB 14-59 Electricity Generating Stations: Planning and Approval

23 September 2014
This short briefing explains how the Scottish Government and local authorities plan for the long term development of Scotland’s onshore electricity generation infrastructure

SB 14-28 Scottish North Sea oil and gas industry

24 April 2014
This briefing is produced to assist the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee in their inquiry into Scotland’s Economic Future Post-2014.

SB 13-72 A Circular Economy

7 November 2013
This briefing explores the challenges associated with meeting our resource demands; introduces the concept of a ‘circular economy’ where materials are retained in use for as long as possible

SB 13-68 Unconventional Gas in Scotland

24 October 2013
This briefing considers unconventional gas exploration and extraction in Scotland and the UK; including the technique known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which has attracted a significant amount of scrutiny in r

SB 13-52 Freshwater Pearl Mussel: Frequently Asked Questions

30 August 2013
This short paper answers frequently asked questions about the freshwater pearl mussel and draws together information from a number of different sources.

SB 13-41 Treatment options for residual waste

25 June 2013
This briefing summarises the options for the treatment of residual waste (waste remaining once re-usable and recyclable materials have been extracted) in Scotland.

SB 13-07 RPP2 and Scotland’s Climate Change Targets

5 February 2013
The Scottish Government published “Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting our Emissions Reduction Targets 2013-2027: The Draft Second Report on Proposals and Policies”. This SPICe Briefing considers some key questions raised.

SB 12-76 Ash Dieback: Questions and Answers

13 December 2012
This briefing provides background information on the tree disease ash dieback. It considers how the disease is caused and spread and what is being done to tackle it.

SB 12-71 Renewable Energy: Community Benefit and Ownership

28 November 2012
This briefing outlines a range of renewable energy community benefit and ownership models and the support available to communities to develop renewable energy projects. It also explores some current issues.

SB12-56 Water Resources (Scotland) Bill

7 September 2012
The Water Resources (Scotland) Bill was introuced in the Scottish Parliament by Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, on 27 June 2012

SB 12-47 Climate Change-The Role of the Individual

13 July 2012
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 sets targets for Scotland to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, based on 1990 levels.

SB 12-42 Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

19 June 2012
The conference marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio. This briefing outlines what has happened since 1992, and what the expectations are for this year's meeting.

SB 12-37 Offshore Renewable Energy

8 June 2012
This briefing explores the harnessing of tidal, wave and offshore wind resources to generate electricity.

SB 12-28 Peatlands and Climate Change

20 April 2012
This briefing describes the ecosystems services provided by peatlands in Scotland, with particular emphasis on their importance for climate change mitigation.

SB 12-26 Climate Change and Health in Scotland

10 April 2012
This briefing considers some of the anticipated impacts of climate change on health in Scotland, and associated policy

SB 12-18 The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012

16 March 2012
This briefing provides details of the Scottish Government’s proposed Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 which were laid before the Scottish Parliament on 15 March 2012.

SB 12-07 Fuel Poverty

25 January 2012
This briefing looks at the statistics on fuel poverty, the policy measures in place to tackle fuel poverty and the levels of spending directed at fuel poverty.

SB 12-02 Agricultural Holdings (Amendment)(Scotland) Bill

9 January 2012
This briefing details the development of the Agricultural Holdings (Amendment)(Scotland) Bill and the changes proposed by the Bill.

SB 11-83 Fireworks

29 November 2011
This briefing outlines the current legislative framework in relation to fireworks.

SB 11-71 Wind Farms: Planning and Approval

21 September 2011
This short briefing aims to explain how the Scottish Government and local authorities plan for the long term development of Scotland’s wind energy infrastructure.

SB 11-41 Environment: Subject Profile briefing

10 June 2011
This briefing provides a general introduction to environmental issues in Scotland, and introduces some key concepts. It describes the relevant legislative and administrative framework and summarises recent policy developments.

SB 11-39 Energy: Subject Profile briefing

10 June 2011
This subject profile provides an introduction to the energy sector in Scotland; within a UK, European and Global context.

SB 11-21 Reservoirs (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 briefing

The Bill seeks to create a legal and administrative framework for construction and management of controlled reservoirs in a manner that reduces the risk of an uncontrolled release of water from reservoirs and the consequences of any subsequent flooding.

SB 11-16 Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 briefing

The Stage 3 debate on the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill will take place on the 2 March 2011. This briefing is intended to provide a summary of the main amendments to the Bill as proposed and agreed during Stage 2.

SB 11-05 UK Energy Bill briefing

This briefing outlines the Bill, and how it applies to Scotland.

Avalanches in Scotland briefing

This short briefing provides some basic information about avalanches in Scotland.

Cancún: UN Climate Negotiations briefing

Between 29 November and 10 December 2010 global leaders will meet in Cancún, Mexico for the latest UN Climate Change Conference. This briefing outlines the expectations are for the meeting in Cancún.

Reservoirs (Scotland) Bill briefing

The Reservoirs (Scotland) Bill seeks to create a legal and administrative framework for the construction and management of controlled reservoirs

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services briefing

This briefing provides some background to the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity taking place this year, and then highlights three aspects of biodiversity.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill briefing

This briefing contains background information and a description of the main provisions in the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill on: game law; snares; non-native species; species licensing; deer; badgers; muirburn

Invasive Non-Native Species briefing

This briefing provides an introduction to invasive non-native species (INNS). It explains what INNS are, includes three short INNS case studies and explores the issues surrounding INNS which are of particular relevance to Scotland.

Flooding: Frequently Asked Questions briefing

This briefing gives a short overview of some of the key responsibilities related to flooding in light of changes brought in by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 13 May 2009.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy briefing

This briefing has been prepared for members of the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee. The paper describes the main aspects of the Common Fisheries Policy, and considers the European Commission’s Green Paper on the future of the policy.

Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill: Rural and Environment bodies briefing

The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Parliament on the 28 May 2009. This briefing has been prepared for Members of the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee.

Comparison of the UK and the Scottish Marine Bills briefing

This briefing summarises the provisions of the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill which was introduced to the House of Lords on 4 December 2008. It considers the main implications the Bill has for Scotland.

Climate Change (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 briefing

This briefing summarises the parliamentary scrutiny of the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill prior to Stage 3 proceedings. The briefing discusses the amendments made to the Bill at Stage 2 and contains various annexes.

Marine (Scotland) Bill briefing

The Marine (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 30 April 2009. The Bill seeks to create a new legislative and management framework for the marine environment.

European Dimensions of the Marine Environment briefing

This briefing highlights the European policy dimension of the marine and maritime environment in order to provide background to the forthcoming Scottish Marine Bill.

Climate Change: The Threat to Species briefing

This briefing considers the threat that climate change poses to Scotland’s species. Some species are able to migrate to new places as their original habitat becomes inhospitable but for others migration is not an option.

Microgeneration briefing

Microgeneration has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy bills for households and businesses. However, to date, there has been very limited uptake of microgeneration.

Climate Change (Scotland) Bill - Forestry Provisions briefing

The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 4 December 2008. It sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and introduces a framework for advice and reporting on climate change.

Climate Change (Scotland) Bill : Waste Provisions briefing

The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Parliament on 4 December 2008. The Bill contains provisions that aim to improve waste management and recycling in order to help move Scotland towards a zero waste society. Reducing waste

Climate Change (Scotland) Bill briefing

The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 4 December 2008. It sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and introduces a framework for advice and reporting on climate change.

Coal Prices briefing

This briefing provides an overview of past and predicted trends in the worldwide consumption of coal, alongside the trend in Scotland

Climate Change: Emissions Trading briefing

Emissions Trading is a market based mechanism that regulates emissions using a system of exchangeable allowances. This Briefing introduces the concept, explores how it has been used in the past, and considers how the mechanism is currently used.

Energy Prices briefing

This briefing provides an overview of recent trends in energy prices and highlights the key factors influencing the general price of energy and the price of oil, domestic gas and electricity.

Climate Change: World Summit of Regions 2008 briefing

This briefing gives an overview of the first World Summit of Regions on Climate Change.

Climate Change: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions - The Community Approach

This briefing looks at some of the ways in which Scotland’s communities are moving towards sustainable living.

Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill : Stage 3 briefing

This briefing summarises parliamentary scrutiny of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill up to Stage 3.

Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill briefing

This briefing considers current responsibilities and legislation related to flood risk management and recent government and parliamentary work in this area. It introduces the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill & summarises selected stakeholders’ views.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry briefing

This briefing outlines the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector and its contribution to storing and releasing greenhouse gases in Scotland.

Carbon Capture and Storage briefing

This briefing paper provides an introduction to carbon capture and storage and its role in future energy and climate change policy.

Biofuels briefing

The briefing also considers the growing biofuel sector in the UK, and some of the complex and diverse arguments surrounding their use and the development of a global biofuels market.

UK Energy Bill briefing

The UK Energy Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 10 January 2008. Parts of the Bill may require consideration by the Scottish Parliament through a Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM).

UK Climate Change Bill - Legislative Consent Memorandum briefing

This briefing outlines the background to the UK Climate Change Bill, and considers which aspects have implications for Scotland.

Waste Management in Scotland. Towards Zero Waste? - briefing

This briefing provides an introduction to waste management policy in Europe and Scotland. It then considers some of the policy options available to the Scottish Government and local authorities within the context of moving towards a zero waste society.

Flooding briefing

This briefing contains information on recent flooding incidents in Scotland; future risks and the implications of climate change; flood prevention legislation; responsibilities for flooding and flooding policy; and flood insurance.

Averting 'Dangerous' Climate Change? - Science and Policy Update briefing

This SPICe Briefing examines developments regarding climate change at global, European, United Kingdom, Scottish and local levels, and introduces some low carbon success stories.

Personal Carbon Allowances briefing

This SPICe Briefing introduces the theory of personal carbon allowances. This is a concept whereby individuals are given an allocation of carbon dioxide which they are entitled to emit as a result of their lifestyle.

Energy - Subject Profile briefing

This SPICe Subject Profile provides an introduction to the energy sector in Scotland, with relevant UK, European and Global context. It covers aspects of energy efficiency and energy for transport, electricity and direct use.

Environment - Subject Profile briefing

This briefing introduces the key environmental issues in Scotland, including climate change, radioactive waste, protected sites and species, water environment and industry, and strategic environmental assessment.

International Polar Year 2007-2009 briefing

This briefing introduces International Polar Year, gives some background on the Arctic and the Antarctic, and briefly describes British interests in Antarctica.

Biodiversity briefing

This briefing provides an introduction to biodiversity. It explores what biodiversity means in practice, and the framework for protecting it.

SPICe Brexit/EU hub

EU Flag

Find out more information on the UK's decision to leave the European Union in the SPICe Hub (external site).

Briefings on digital hub

Person reading research briefing on tablet

You'll find all SPICe Briefings published from April 2017 onwards on our digital hub