The UK's carbon footprint in 2009 was 20% higher than in 1990, according to new data from Defra
They also reveal that the amount of CO₂ emissions associated with imported goods and services consumed in the UK accounted for 45% of the footprint in 2009 compared with 27% in 1990.
The latest figures show that the economic downturn has stemmed the upward trajectory of the UK’s embedded emissions, with the country’s carbon footprint – defined as emissions associated with the spending of UK residents on goods and services wherever the emissions arise – shrinking by 9% between 2008 and 2009.
Defra estimates that over the whole period, CO₂ emissions from imports doubled, while emissions from the consumption of goods and services produced in the UK decreased by 10%.
The environment department says the domestic fall was due to a significant drop in emissions from power stations, largely because of a fall in demand as well as a large reduction in emissions from heavy-goods vehicles, and a noticeable fall in emissions from construction activity.