Britain’s GHG emissions fell by 3 per cent last year from levels recorded in 2016, mostly due to a drop in coal-fired power generation. Shutterstock photo.
GHG emissions down in Britain for a fifth straight year
The shift from coal-fired power generation to renewables and cleaner burning fuels helped Britain cut its GHG emissions by 3 per cent in 2017, and the decline marked the fifth straight yearly drop in the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect, according to government data.
Britain is Europe’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind Germany. The British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says the amount of GHG emissions fell to 456 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent last year.
Since 1990, Britain’s GHG emissions have declined 43 per cent and the country is now over half way to its meeting its legally binding target of cutting its GHG emissions by 2050 to 80 per cent below 1990 levels.
According to the agency, a breakdown of last years data shows emissions of CO2, the number one greenhouse gas blamed for climate change, dropped by 3 per cent to 367 million tonnes.
A decline in coal-fired power generation led to a drop of energy-sector CO2 emissions of 8 per cent. Britain has replaced much of that power generation with record output from renewables, including wind and solar.
Wind power use increased by 33 per cent to a record 40.9 terawatt hours (TWh) and solar generation jumped 43 per cent to 2.9 TWh
BEIS data showed power generation from coal-fired plants fell by 26 per cent in 2017 to 21.36 TWh and now makes up less than 7 per cent of Britain’s total supply of electricity. Gas-fired power generation also fell in 2017, down 6 per cent.
By 2025, Britain plans to close all coal-fired power stations unless they are fitted with carbon emissions capture and storage technology.