Greenhouse gasses produced in the UK dropped by 8.4% during 2014, as a variety of factors came together to bring our emissions down. This included a reduction in household consumption and the amount of coal used for electricity generation along with a number of climate based government policies which helped tackle a number of growing areas of the issue.
UK Greenhouse Gasses Drop During 2014
One of the key areas which helped was the growth in renewable energy, which rose to a new record high which accounted for nearly a fifth of the national electricity supply. Carbon dioxide also fell by almost a tenth, helping to bring the total emissions down.
How we manage our electricity supplies have come to make a huge difference to the amount of greenhouse gasses we create. Over the last decade the numbers have not been falling as sharply as many had hoped, often down to our age-old reliance on coal. But coals value has dropped alongside other fossil fuels and is not helped by the rise of shale gas in the US.
In part, the reduction in carbon output was down to record average high temperatures across the UK in 2014, which drove down demand for heating and led to a big drop in household energy consumption.
The fall in emissions was a boost to former secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Davey; however it didn’t help the Liberal Democrats gain any popularity in the recent general election.
Davey said: “2014 was truly record-breaking year for low carbon generation. Our plan to decarbonise the economy while it grows is working – we’ve reduced our emissions by 8%, increased the amount of electricity we’re getting from renewables and seen the economy grow at the same time. It is crucial we continue to build a low carbon energy sector based on home grown sources, as it is crucial to improving our energy security, as well as stimulating economic growth and reducing emissions.”
The fall is expected to strengthen the UK’s position at the Paris climate talks this December, where governments from all over the world are expected to agree to greenhouse gas targets to take effect beyond 2020, when the current targets expire. The talks will agree how countries will tackle emissions when we enter the next decade and avoid reaching the global 2% threshold.
Emma Pinchbeck of WWF said: “Falling carbon emissions from the energy sector is welcome news and shows that action on carbon emissions gets results. While this drop is positive, we must remember that more ambitious carbon emissions reductions are required across different sectors to meet our climate change commitments.”
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