Scotland met its annual climate change target for 2015, although there was a slight rise in greenhouse gas emissions compared with the previous year, new figures have shown.

Emissions were measured at 45.5 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015, with the target for the year having been set at 46.928 million tonnes.

However, the 2015 total marked a small increase on revised figures for 2014, up 1.8% from 44.7 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 also contains an interim 2020 target to reduce emissions by at least 42% on baseline levels.

By 2015, a reduction of 41% had been achieved.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "New figures show that Scotland has met its annual greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the second consecutive year and remains comfortably on track to meet its 2020 target.

"This progress has been achieved against a backdrop of ongoing data revisions resulting from improvements to the way we measure emissions.

"The statistics also show that we continue to outperform the UK as a whole, with our efforts to drive forward transformative change in our energy system clearly paying off.

"We always knew meeting our ambitious targets would be tough and that they bring a number of challenges, as well as opportunities. Our draft Climate Change Plan sets out a package of measures across transport, heat, electricity generation and energy efficiency which will help us go further."

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The new data was welcomed by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), a coalition of organisations campaigning on climate change and other environmental issues.

Jim Densham of the group said: "It's great news that Scotland's hit the latest annual emissions reduction target.

"This shows that real progress is being made towards securing the clean energy revolution which our economy and society needs. Tackling climate change delivers huge benefits such as reduced fuel poverty, cleaner air, thousands of jobs and improved health.

"To hit future climate change targets, we now need to build on the early successes to supercharge action on key areas. These include homes, farming and particularly transport, which is for the first time the largest source of emissions.

"Transport pollution has been stubbornly high for decades and we need significant action to catch up with other nations such as India and Norway which are planning to end the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2030."

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Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the approach to transport needs to change after it emerged as the biggest cause of emissions.

"People throughout Scotland will want to know why the SNP is proposing unacceptable tax cuts for wealthy frequent flyers, but failing to make it cheaper to travel everyday by bus and train," he said.

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur said: "Progress in the transport sector since 1990 has barely left first base and emissions actually increased in the last year.

"For years there has been insufficient action from SNP ministers to transform our transport system, boost active travel and attract people on to public transport.

"The Scottish Government's Draft Climate Change Plan lacks real ambition to reduce demand and encourage the shift towards low-carbon transport."