Dramatic UK Emission Drop Just a ‘Taste of What Could Be Achieved’

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UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by 8.4 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to official figures released today by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Carbon emissions fell by 9.7 percent. 

A 23 percent reduction in coal use and record warm temperatures were the main contributors to the decline in emissions. Continued falls in energy use were also a factor.

This dramatic drop in emissions is the largest on record for a growing UK economy. In fact, the economy grew faster in 2014 than it has in any year since 2007.

Economic Growth

It is extremely rare that emission reductions of more than 5 percent per year occur without an economic recession.

This is further evidence, if it was needed, that efforts to cut carbon pollution and boost our economy can go hand in hand,” said Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK.

DECC’s figures follow recent estimates by the International Energy Agency that global CO2 emissions stalled in 2014 during a period of global economic growth. If confirmed, it would be the first time in 40 years when a growing global economy was not accompanied by rising emissions.

Dirty Coal

A drop in coal use for electricity generation was the main factor in the UK’s 2014 emission reduction. Coal use is now below half that seen in 1990.

Parr said: “These figures give us a taste of what could be achieved if our political leaders got serious about phasing out the dirtiest of all fossil fuels and gave proper backing to clean energy.”

This should be a key learning for ministers as they prepare to set out their carbon reduction plans ahead of a crucial climate summit later in the year.”

@kylamandel

Photo: Pixabay via Creative Commons

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Kyla is a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

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