UK’s carbon footprint rose 3% in 2013

The UK’s carbon footprint rose 3% between 2012 and 2013. That’s according to a recent release of government data, which shows this was primarily due to increased emissions from imported […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The UK’s carbon footprint rose 3% between 2012 and 2013.

That’s according to a recent release of government data, which shows this was primarily due to increased emissions from imported goods.

The carbon footprint refers to emissions associated with the consumption spending of UK residents on goods and services, wherever in the world these emissions arise along the supply chain.

The nation’s carbon usage peaked at 1,296 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent in 2007 – the figure in 2013 was 19% lower than this.

However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relating to imports rose 41% from 1997 to a peak in 2007 and in 2013 were 10% higher than 1997.

In contrast, emissions relating to the consumption of goods and services produced in the UK in 2013 were 26% lower than in 1997.

This is due to the British economy shifting since 1997 from a manufacturing base towards the services sector. One of the consequences of this is that more of the goods bought and used are now produced overseas.

The proportion of the total GHG footprint generated directly by UK households has remained at around 14% between 1997 and 2013.

All BBC programmes will soon have to track their carbon footprint.