UK carbon emissions fall 8.6 % in 2009

DECC said that economic downturn and move away from fossil fuels helped to cut carbon emissions in 2009, reports Envido.

Online PR News – 26-March-2010 – – The UK's carbon emissions fell by 8.6 % during 2009 to 574.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to provisional government figures released today.

The government said the size of the cut in carbon emissions was the result of the economic downturn, but also hinted that there was evidence its low carbon policies are beginning to take effect. It was added that the fall in carbon emissions meant that the UK was now clearly on track to meet the goal set out in its first carbon budget to reduce carbon emissions by 22 % on 1990 levels by 2012.

The independent Committee on Climate Change last year recommended that the carbon emissions reductions delivered as a result of the recession should not be used to count towards future carbon budgets.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock reiterated the government's willingness to adopt the Committee's recommendation. She said that there would be no let-up in implementing the measures set out in the Low Carbon Transition Plan, so that carbon emissions reductions continue as the UK returns to trend growth.

A switch from coal to nuclear fuel supports the fall in carbon emissions

The report states that while the fall in carbon emissions achieved last year resulted primarily from a significant fall in energy consumption, it was also supported by fuel switching from coal to nuclear for electricity generation.
Carbon emissions from power stations fell 13.1% during the year, while carbon emissions from the business sector fell 15 % and carbon emissions from industrial facilities fell 19 %.

The drop in carbon emissions also fits into a wider trend that has seen the carbon intensity of the UK's energy supplies fall significantly over the last two decades, primarily as a result of a switch from coal to gas-fired power stations. Since 1990, carbon emissions from energy supply have reduced by 23 % and business carbon emissions have reduced by 33 %, despite the fact overall energy consumption has fallen by just 1 % over the same period.

However, there was some bad news for the government hidden in the figures, as the report revealed that efforts to cut carbon emissions from the public sector largely slowed down last year as carbon emissions fell just 0.1 per cent, despite having fallen 25 % since 1990.