UK carbon emissions down in 2016

30th March 2017

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Gina Gabor

The UK's carbon emissions fell by 7% in 2016 compared with the previous year, according to official government data published today.

Provisional figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) also revealed that total greenhouse gas emissions were 6% lower in 2016 than 2015. Between 1990 and 2016, there has been a 42% drop in GHGs, while CO2 emissions fell by 37% over the same timeframe.

However, when the data was adjusted to take actual temperatures into account, GHGs in 2016 were higher than in 2015, as 2016 was 0.4°C warmer than the long-term average, according to the statistics.

The largest reduction in CO2 emissions from 2015 to 2016 was from the energy supply sector, where emissions fell by 19%. Emissions from industrial processes reduced by 13%, while those from business saw a 10% drop.

Transport emissions rose by 1%, while those from homes rose by 4%, DBEIS said.

Separate data from the department revealed that total energy production rose by 1.2% in 2016 compared with the previous year. The increase was lower than the 9.6% rise between 2014 and 2015. DBEIS cited increased output from oil, gas, bioenergy and nuclear plants.

Coal production was 51% lower in 2016 than in 2015, mainly due to the closure of several mines, including the last three large deep mines at Hatfield, Thoresby and Kellingley. Coal imports fell by 66% as generators’ demand fell 59% to a record low.

Renewable electricity generation was 82.8 TWh in 2016, a decrease of 1% on the 83.6 TWh in 2015, with bioenergy up by 0.7% and wind generation down by 7%.

However, renewables’ share of electricity generation decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 24.4% in 2016 despite a 13.7% rise in capacity over the year. This was due to low wind speeds and rainfall in 2016 following a very wet and windy 2015, according to DBEIS.


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