GHGs from UK businesses on the up

27th March 2014

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Andrew Glass

Provisional data for 2013 reveals a decline in overall UK greenhouse-gas emissions, but that emissions from businesses increased by 2.9%

According to initial estimates from Decc, the amount of GHGs generated in the UK last year fell by 1.9% on 2012 figures.

The report, which details emissions of the six GHGs covered by the Kyoto protocol, attributes the drop in emissions in 2013 to a switch from coal to gas-fired power generation. It estimates that GHGs from the electricity sector, which accounts for one-third of the UK’s total output, fell by 14.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e), as less coal was burned. The fall in emissions from electricity generation meant there was no overall rise in UK GHG emissions despite other sectors of the economy reporting an increase.

Decc’s initial data indicate that emissions from UK businesses, for example, increased by 2.9% in 2013. Increased output in the iron and steelmaking industries, with the ramping up of operations at the Teesside Steelworks, which reopened in April 2012, and the opening of a furnace at Port Talbort in February 2013, are cited as the main reasons for the rise.

Emissions from industrial processes, meanwhile, jumped 6%, while GHG output from the public sector and residential buildings increased by 3% and 2.6%, respectively.

The increase in emissions from domestic dwellings may, in part, be a result of cooler temperatures at the start of 2013, with the first three months of the year 2.7°C, on average, cooler than the same period in 2012.

Decc has also published provisional data on the UK’s energy supply for 2013. It estimates that total energy consumption fell by 0.3% compared with 2012.

Generation from renewable sources increased by 28% year-on-year, reports Decc, supplying a record 14.8% of the country’s electricity. However, reliance on imported energy also increased in 2013, to a new high, with domestic oil, gas and coal production all falling to record lows.

The figures also reveal that electricity consumption fell by a further 0.5% in 2013, to reach the lowest level since 1998.

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