UK first major economy to halve emissions

The UK is the first major economy to halve its emissions – having cut them by 50% between 1990 and 2022, while also growing its economy by 79% – according to new statistics released by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

This compares to a 23% reduction in France and no change in the USA between 1990 and 2021.

With renewables now accounting for more than 40% of the country’s electricity – up from just 7% in 2010, this shows the UK is leading the way on cleaner energy.

These reductions are largely due to cutting emissions from energy generation, through the shift away from using coal to using renewables. In 2012, coal provided almost 40% of UK electricity, but later this year, this will be zero.

The UK is over-delivering on its commitment to reduce emissions, having already slashed emissions by 50%.

Since September alone companies have announced plans for £30bn of new investment across the energy sector, including to advance green technologies and support green industries of the future.

Not only has the UK cut emissions faster than any other major economy since 1990, but also has some of the most ambitious legally binding targets.

Today’s statistics also confirmed the UK has over-achieved on the third carbon budget – making this the third carbon budget target in a row for which the UK has over-achieved, as it did for the first and second carbon budgets.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said:

“The UK is the first major economy – of the top 20 countries – to halve its emissions. This is an enormous achievement by itself but also because we have done this in a pragmatic way – growing our economy by 80% at the same time and protecting family finances.

“We have also increased our renewables electricity generation from just 7% in 2010 to nearly 50% now. With some of the most ambitious targets in the world, we should be proud that we’ve over-achieved on our carbon budget for the third time in a row. We will continue to meet out targets but in a pragmatic way that doesn’t clobber extra costs onto hard working families.”

Today’s publication covers greenhouse gas emissions statistics up to 2022, and show total greenhouse gas emissions were 50% lower in 2022 than in 1990. Despite rises in some sectors from 2021 levels, as the UK continued to recover from Covid-19, 2022 saw an overall fall in greenhouse gas emissions in the UK – with a decrease of 3.5% from 2021, and 9.3% lower when compared to 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic year.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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