Defra: UK carbon footprint ’21 per cent below 2007 peak’


Greenhouse gas emissions linked to consumption by UK homes and businesses dropped by 21 per cent in the decade to 2017, according to latest government figures.

Total GHG output linked to all forms of consumption in the economy stood at 772 million tonnes in 2017. Analysts at Defra said this was down over a fifth from 2007’s all-time peak, and down 9 per cent on 1997 when records were first compiled.

Accelerated offshoring of manufactured goods consumed in the UK was a major reason for the drop, states the report.

Other causes, cited by Defra, include:

  • UK businesses using more decarbonised power, particularly manufacturers
  • smarter business processes and
  • an increase in energy efficiency across public an private sector.

Carbon dioxide alone accounts for 79 per cent of all GHG gases in UK consumption, or about 600 million tonnes by 2017. A 3 per cent drop in CO2 across 2016 was in line with longer-term trends, analysts noted. Accelerating usage of renewables, plus a decline in private travel were cited.

The department’s figures seek to record emissions linked to UK consumption wherever in the world they occur. To be classed as consumption-related, emissions must be generated in providing goods and services used by UK firms or residents, or are embedded in imports value chains supporting goods and services used in the UK.

At 61 million tonnes of CO2e in 2017, emissions from manufacture of Chinese goods accounted for 17 per cent of all GHGs attributed to UK imports, DEFRA suggested.

While consistently compiled over two decades, DEFRA say the statistics are ‘experimental’, due to inherent uncertainties in data gathering.

Read the report here.

Related stories:

Energy sector reduces emissions but housing and transport rise

UK energy consumption rose 1.7% in 2015 government data shows

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