Throwing it back to 1888

By Loren Fay on Mar 12, 2020
Loren Fay Avatar

The UK’s carbon emission levels have fallen and are now at 1888 levels.

According to new analysis from Carbon Brief, in 2019 there was a 2.9% drop in emissions. This drop marks the seventh consecutive year of carbon cuts in the UK, making it the longest series to date.  

The analysis notes a 29% reduction in the use of coal last year, pushing this decline in emissions. Although, coal was the driving force behind these emissions, oil and gas use remains largely unchanged over the period.

With the power sector accounting for 93% of the overall fall in demand for the fuel last year, the small remainder came from the industry.

Taking the lead and staying in the lead.

The report states that in the past 10 years regardless of the economy growing by almost a fifth, the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 29%. These figures are driven again by the reductions in coal emissions, which have dropped by a staggering 80% since 2010.

Emissions from gas are down by 20% and oil are down by 6%.

Carbon Brief say that the 2020s needs to be a “decade of action”. If global goals to limit rising temperatures are to be met by 2030, emissions would need to fall by a further 31% in order to keep up with the current government projections.

However, based on current policies only a 10% cut is predicted to occur.

The report states: “Looking at international data up to 2018 – the most recent year available – the UK has seen the fastest decline in carbon dioxide emissions of any major economy. Only the US has seen larger absolute cuts than the UK in terms of tonnes of carbon dioxide over this period, but it’s 5% decline is smaller in percentage terms. The UK’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 stood at an estimated 354 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, some 41% below 1990 levels.”