The UK’s CO2 emissions have declined by around 38% since 1990, faster than any other major developed country, according to the latest government figures.
According to Carbon Brief analysis, many factors have come together to drive the UK’s CO2 emissions down since 1990 – but the largest contributors have been in industrial and business energy reductions.
A cleaner electricity mix based on gas and renewables instead of coal was also a significant factor – responsible for 36% of the emissions reduction in 2017. In the same year, reduced fuel consumption by business and industry was responsible for about 31% of the emissions reduction, and reduced electricity use – mostly in the industrial and residential sectors – was responsible for 18% of the reduction.
According to BEIS, the largest factors behind declining business and industrial energy use include improvements in energy efficiency and switching to lower-carbon fuels.
Lighting upgrades, behaviour change and building energy management systems consistently rank as the most popular projects for companies investing in energy efficiency.
One area lagging behind is transport – which was responsible for around 34% of the UK’s CO2 emissions in 2017. This share has increased from 21% in 1990, as other sectors of the economy have cut their emissions while transport CO2 output has barely changed.
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