UK GHG emissions falling again

2nd April 2012

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  • Business & Industry ,
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  • Generation



Following a rise in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions during 2010, warm weather and increased nuclear generation saw UK GHGs drop by 7% in 2011, according to DECC

Provisional figures from the energy department reveal the UK produced 40 million tonnes fewer GHGs in 2011 than in the previous 12 months, bringing total emissions down to 549.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

The figures confirm the UK has returned to its previous trend of falling emissions, with the GHG output in 2011 4% below that of 2009, and 28% lower than in 1990.

DECC’s analysis reveals that carbon dioxide emissions, which represent 84% of the country’s total GHG output, fell by 8% on 2010 figures and by 4% in comparison to 2009.

According to DECC, CO2 output dropped across the economy with the biggest fall seen in the residential sector with emissions from homes cut 22% year-on-year, as temperatures rose by up to 4.1°C, reducing gas consumption for heating.

In the business sector, carbon emissions fell by 8% bringing output down to a new low of 69.6 million tonnes. However, while emissions from industry were cut by 3% on 2010 figures, 100,000 tonnes more carbon dioxide was emitted by the sector than in 2009.

The transport sector saw small gains with carbon emissions cut by 1.4% and energy suppliers cut emissions by 6% by generating less electricity from natural gas and more from nuclear power stations. According to DECC, 2011 saw the lowest use of gas by power stations since 1998.

Alongside the provisional data on UK-wide GHG emissions for 2011, DECC has also published a breakdown of GHG emissions by end-user. The figures allocate emissions generated by the energy suppliers to the sector which ultimately uses the energy. The results reveal that the business sector is the country’s largest emitter, producing 163 million tonnes of CO2 in 2010, compared to its direct output of 70 million tonnes.


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