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UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Drop 35% Since 1990

Greenhouse gas emissions have continued to decline in the UK, dropping 7.7% according to the latest figures.

The UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change published its latest update on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions levels, with data going back to 1990. According to the figures, UK’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be at 514.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2014, or around 7.7% lower than 2013 levels.


The largest decreases between 2013 and 2014 were in the energy supply sector, which saw greenhouse gas emissions levels decrease by 13.6%, due primarily to a decrease in the use of coal for electricity generation. Additionally, the residential sector decreased its own emissions by 17% due to a reduction in the use of natural gas for space heating (thanks to overall warmer temperatures).


The primary greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, accounting for 82% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2014.

The UK’s emissions reductions have been on track for some time. Under the First Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol, 2008-2012, the UK committed to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% below base year levels over the five-year period. In line with that, UK emissions were an average of 600.6 MtCO2e per year, 23% lower than base year emissions.

Future emissions reductions targets are currently in progress, with the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol, 2013-2020, set to see the European Union collectively reduce emissions by 20% relative to base year levels over the period. Beyond 2020, as was determined at the most recent UN climate negotiations in Paris, the EU and its Member States committed to a target of at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

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