UK’s carbon emissions fall for the sixth consecutive year

The UK’s carbon emissions have dropped for the sixth year in a row, making this the longest series of continuous reductions on record.

The estimated 1.5 per cent reduction has been released by Carbon Brief, ascribing the reduction to falling coal use, which was down 16 per cent compared to a year earlier, whereas oil and gas use were largely unchanged.

The UK’s CO2 emissions were an estimated 361m tonnes in 2018, some 39 per cent below 1990. Outside years with general strikes, this would be the lowest since 1888.

The findings are based on Carbon Brief’s analysis of energy use figures from the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The department will publish its own CO2 estimates on 28 March.

Since 1990, the UK has cut its emissions faster than any other major economy in the world, even as its GDP has continued to grow. Carbon Brief has suggested that this is due to reduced energy demand and a shift to cleaner sources of electricity. Per-capita emissions in the UK fell to 5.4tCO2 in 2018, and on this measure, the UK now ranks alongside France and well below China.

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