UK Emissions are Down


20 March 2017

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to fall year on year and should continue to do so up to 2050 despite growth of the economy, according to the latest update from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

But the document emphasises that the accuracy of its projections will be largely dependent on future government policies from 2020 on – by which time we should have left the European Union.

Greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, are blamed for global warming, but the UK has a good record in reducing them.

Between 1990 and 2015, UK GHG emissions fell 38%, according to provisional statistics, whilst the economy grew by 64%. Emissions are projected to continue falling against the backdrop of a growing economy.

Legally binding carbon budgets are set for five year periods and are aimed at reducing emissions by at least 80% by 2050.  The latest BEIS report presents the 2016 projections of the UK’s energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions up to 2035.

The UK’s primary energy demand is projected to fall by a total of 6% over the next 10 years, before rising to 2% above current levels by the end of 2035. Up to 2020, the reference scenario reflects current power sector policy.

BEIS added: “The main projection is the ‘reference case’, which is one view of how the UK energy and emissions system could evolve if existing and agreed government policies were implemented but no new policies or changes to existing policies were introduced. Other views of the future are possible and there are significant uncertainties in these projections.”

Low carbon generation is projected to increase from 47% of the generation mix in 2015 to 61% in 2020, whilst final electricity demand is expected to fall by 1%, but emissions from the domestic sector and transport are expected to rise.

Since the late 1970s, the Government has published projections of UK energy demand

and supply, and in the 1990s these were extended to include projected carbon dioxide

(CO 2 ) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for publishing these projections annually, and before BEIS was formed, projections were published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

To download the Updated Energy & Emissions Projections 2016 click here