UK carbon emissions hit lowest level since 1888

(EurActiv, 3 Mar 2020) The UK’s CO2 emissions fell by another 2.9% in 2019, bringing the total reduction in the past decade to 28%, even as the British economy grew by a fifth, according to fresh data published on Tuesday (3 March).

Falling coal emissions account for around three-fifths of the overall reduction in the UK’s CO2 output over the past decade, with gas accounting for another third and oil making up the remainder, according to new research by Carbon Brief, a climate analysis and news website.

Overall, the UK’s CO2 emissions are now down to levels not seen since 1888, excluding years with general strikes, Carbon Brief said.

Energy efficiency and cleaner fuels

The largest contributor to falling emissions were improvements in energy intensity – or the amount of energy needed to produce each unit of GDP. “Broadly speaking, this reflects the fact that the UK has become much more energy efficient,” Carbon Brief said.

The second-largest contributor has been a shift to cleaner fuels, primarily renewable sources of electricity.

“Together, these effects have more than offset the impact of rising population and GDP,” Carbon Brief noted.

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EurActiv, 3 Mar 2020: UK carbon emissions hit lowest level since 1888