The UK has been the most successful G7 nation in growing its economy whilst reducing emissions.
That’s according to a new report from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), which shows in the 25 years since the signing of the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Britons have become 130% wealthier, on average, than citizens of any other G7 nation.
At the same time, the UK has reduced its average per capita carbon footprint the most – it was 33% lower in 2014 than in 1992.
The report suggests several factors are behind the UK’s success, including a switch from coal to gas for electricity, energy efficiency schemes reducing demand and a gradual shift to a more service-based economy.
It contests the idea the UK has cut domestic emissions by “exporting” them – on a per-capita basis, emissions from imports have remained at very similar levels to those in 1997, even though per capita GDP has more than doubled since then.
Richard Black, Director of the ECIU, said: “It’s really time to slay once and for all the old canard that cutting carbon emissions means economic harm.
“As this report shows, if you have consistent policymaking and cross-party consensus, it’s perfectly possible to get richer and cleaner at the same time. Britain isn’t the only country that’s done it. It’s true for most of the G7 but we’ve clearly been the best of the bunch.”