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    UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fall


The data is for 2018, but 2019 saw even longer periods without coal-fired generation

by: William Powell

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UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fall

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1% in 2018 compared to the year before according to statistics published February 4, the government said. The fall was "due in large part to the rapid decline of coal-powered electricity generation, with emissions from energy supply falling by 7% in the same year," it said. Last year saw even longer periods without coal-fired capacity than in 2018, suggesting further historic falls will be reported.

Since 1990, the UK has cut emissions by more than 40% while growing the economy by three quarters. Emissions from energy supply have fallen by 62% in the same timeframe, it said.

The figures coincide with prime minister Boris Johnson's claim that 2020 would be the Year of UK Climate Action, with plans to bring forward the date for ending the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars to 2035 – five years ahead of schedule. 

The UK is the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050, reducing emissions further than any other G20 country. The country has undergone a revolution in clean energy, with coal down from 70% of electricity supply in 1990 to only 3% now. Unabated coal-fired generation is to cease entirely by 2024. Since 1990 business emissions have fallen by 31%, residential emissions by 14% and agricultural emissions by 16%.

Transport makes up 28% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Although the largest source of the UK’s emissions since 2016, the sector posted a 1% fall from 2017-2018.