Energy supply emissions fall 12% but transport and housing emissions rise


coalUK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributed to the energy sector fell 12% year on year in 2015, government estimates suggest.

The reduction comes largely from the power sector as coal generation became increasingly uneconomic due to lower gas prices and the impact of renewables (which generated 29% more year on year) on the wholesale market. Additionally Drax burnt more wood instead of coal and EDF’s nuclear output increased 12% from a year earlier.

Since 1990, GHG emissions from the energy supply sector have now almost halved (-48%), latest data shows, with C02 making up around 80% of all GHG emissions.

BEIS emissions data
BEIS emissions data


While the UK remains on track to meet its second carbon budget, there is a lack of progress in decarbonising transport and heat, the latter responsible for an increase in household emissions.

While emissions from business fell 3% year on year, household GHG emissions increased by 4%. Transport emissions also rose 2%. The transport sector is the single biggest emitter of GHG other than the energy supply sector. It may well overtake the energy sector in terms of emissions during the course of this year, if current trends continue.

While the reduction of business emissions appears to suggest progress, the reality is that decline of the UK steel industry is behind the fall. Meanwhile F gases emissions continue to rise, albeit more slowly than in previous years.

BEIS put the increase in household emissions, based largely on gas use for cooking and heating, down to a cooler year in 2015 than 2014. On average 2015 was 0.6 degrees cooler and the 1.3 degrees cooler from January to March, resulting in and increase of 3.4MtCO2e from homes, said the department.

See the full data here.

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