UK’s carbon footprint shrunk by 1% in 2014

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the UK’s carbon footprint fell by 1% in 2014. That’s according to new data released by the government, which analyses emissions from the consumption spending of […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the UK’s carbon footprint fell by 1% in 2014.

That’s according to new data released by the government, which analyses emissions from the consumption spending of UK residents on global goods and services.

This is called the carbon footprint and records the total volume of GHGs produced wherever in the world or along the supply chain they arise, as well as those which are directly generated by UK households through activities like private motoring.

Since 1997, the UK economy has continued to move from a manufacturing base towards the services sector, meaning more of the physical goods bought and used are now produced overseas.

The carbon footprint peaked at 1,296 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2007 and in 2014 was 20% lower than this.

Embedded emissions from imports increased by 53% from 1997 to their peak in 2007.  In 2014 there were 391 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, 22% lower than the highest point.

Emissions associated with imports from China in 2014 were 239% higher than in 1997 as the nation produces an increasing proportion of the products imported into the UK.

In 2014, emissions relating to the consumption of domestically produced goods and services were 27% lower than in 1997.

The proportion of the total GHG footprint generated directly by UK households has remained at around 17% between 1997 and 2014.