UK saw the ‘fifth largest’ fall in electricity sector carbon emissions since the start of lockdown

A new report estimates UK energy emissions fell to a total of 48.6 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the total annual emissions of nearly half a million Brits

The Big Zero report

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Energy-related emissions in the UK fell by 8%, the fifth largest drop, among the ten largest European economies since the start of national lockdowns.

That’s according to new research by the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab, which estimates UK energy emissions fell to a total of 48.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is equal to the total annual emissions of nearly half a million Brits.

A 42.2% reduction in coal generation is thought to have led to that trend.

The report also suggests emissions across Europe’s ten largest economies fell by almost 7% during the lockdown – that’s equivalent to halting all global air travel in an average fortnight in 2019.

In addition, the data shows Austria had the largest percentage drop in emissions, 28.8% year on year while Spain achieved the largest total drop in tonnes of carbon emissions by slashing emissions by 24.1%.

That was enabled by the closure of seven of its 15 coal plants in June 2020, the report finds.

Tony Meski, Senior Market Development Analyst at Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “The impact of Covid is like achieving a gold medal while spraining both ankles in the process! We’ve achieved record-breaking carbon reductions, but our global economy has been put under intense strain.

“One year since lockdowns began, we must now focus on a strategic, scientific and intelligent approach to cutting carbon emissions that enables us to achieve to Paris Agreement while actually benefitting our economy and improving our quality of life.

Energy demand will rebound and emissions with it. We need to capture this moment and be ambitious with our investment and flexible technologies while they remain highly competitive.”

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