UK emissions ‘fell by 44% between 1990 and 2019’

Latest stats show energy sector has decarbonised by 65.5% from 1990 but transport by just 4.6%

Festival Net Zero 2021

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK fell by 44% between 1990 and 2019.

According to the recent Office for National Statistics publication, emissions in 2019 were estimated to be 454.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, a decrease of 2.8%, compared to the 2018 figure of 468.1 million tonnes and 43.8% lower than 1990.

The report, which gives the latest annual estimates of UK territorial GHG emissions, attributes this latest decrease mainly to the emissions reduction in the energy supply sector, which was down 8.1%.

That was driven by the continued decrease in power station emissions due to the change in the fuel mix for electricity generation, in particular a reduction in the use of coal, the research finds.

The findings of the report show emissions from energy supply were 65.5% lower in 2019 than they were in 1990.

However, transport remains the largest emitting sector, responsible for 27% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK – the sector saw just a 1.8% drop in emissions in 2019.

The authors of the report suggest transport emissions were only 4.6% lower than in 1990, as increased traffic has surpassed the potential benefits coming from improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency.

Emissions from businesses made up 17% of the total emissions, while the residential sector contributed to a 15% share and agriculture 10%.

The study also demonstrates that UK emissions are dominated by carbon dioxide, which is estimated to have accounted for about 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK in 2019.

Carbon dioxide is thought to be the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere.

The UK has committed to reducing emissions by 68% from 1990 levels by 2030.

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