Warning that climate progress will run out of steam as emissions fall 3% in 2019
2nd February 2021 | Commercial Energy
Progress on UK climate emissions will “run out of steam” without serious action to cut pollution from transport and homes, campaigners have warned. The warning comes as the latest official figures for UK greenhouse gas emissions show that they fell by 3% in 2019 from the previous year, and are down 44% on 1990 levels.
Much of the reduction has come from the energy supply sector which has seen emissions fall by two-thirds (66%) since 1990 as coal-fired electricity generation plummeted and renewables such as wind power increased. This fall in our emissions is welcome and a sure sign we’re continuing to reap the benefits of strong efforts to eliminate coal power. The shift away from fossil fuel power continues with emissions from energy supplies falling 8% in 2019 alone.
Transport is the biggest emitting sector in the UK, making up more than a quarter (27%) of emissions in 2019, followed by energy supply which accounts for just over a fifth (21%). Climate pollution from transport fell 2% year-on-year in 2019 and has fallen only 5% in the three decades since 1990. Business accounted for 17% of emissions and homes produced 15% of the UK’s pollution in 2019.
The figures from the Business Department (BEIS) also include revisions to the way that emissions from peatlands are calculated, showing that land use and forestry are putting out greenhouse gases overall rather than absorbing them.
Responding to the latest figures, Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said, “This fall in our emissions is welcome and a sure sign we’re continuing to reap the benefits of strong efforts to eliminate coal power. But our progress will run out of steam unless the Government starts taking serious action on other high polluting sectors. That means getting a handle on thorny areas like transport and homes because until we do, we won’t be going anywhere near far or fast enough to combat the climate crisis.”
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