‘The UK’s total carbon footprint has decreased by 38% since 1990 – but could have doubled if the renewable energy revolution had failed to gain traction, new analysis from Carbon Brief has concluded.
The organisation’s latest analysis on the UK’s shrinking carbon footprint, published today (4 February), reveals that progress regarding emissions reductions over the past ten years has remained steady, despite a period of decreased investment in low-carbon technologies following the financial crash of 2008.
Overall, it claims, the UK has reduced its total carbon footprint by 38% since 1990, – a slight increase on the 37% reduction recorded in 2016. According to official Government figures, the UK’s total carbon footprint stood at 600m tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2) in 1990 and 367MtCO2 in 2017.
The shift away from coal power generation has been the key driver of this decarbonisation, Carbon Brief claims, accounting for 36% of the reduction. Within the past 27 years, coal has gone from accounting for 67% of the UK’s energy mix to just 5%, the analysis states, as more renewable and nuclear arrays have come online.
The second-biggest contributor to reductions was found to be lower energy use among the industrial and residential sectors, as businesses and individuals turned to energy-efficiency measures like LED lighting and electric heating to reduce their bills. This shift was responsible for almost one-third (31%) of the UK’s progress, Carbon Brief claims, with savings from industry being greater than those from homes.
Carbon Brief claims that without these sizeable shifts towards renewable power generation and energy-efficiency, the UK’s overall carbon emissions could have been twice as high today as they were in 1990. In this scenario, the proportion of emissions related to electricity generation would also have been four times that of present levels.’
Wow, what progress! All those people and businesses that have embraced renewables can be really proud of what has been achieved. However, we must none of us loose momentum. The 2050 target is an 80% carbon reduction, so there’s still a way to go! Help is at hand through Boston Renewables. Just lift the phone or drop us an email and we’ll do the rest. You’ll enjoy being part of the energy revolution!