U.K.’s 2020 Emission Drop Sees It Almost Halfway to Net Zero

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The U.K.’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 9% in 2020 as coronavirus lockdowns saw a drop in road use and pollution from the business sector.

The large annual drop puts the country at almost halfway to its legal goal of effectively eliminating the U.K.’s territorial emissions by 2050, according to provisional data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The long term decline in U.K. emissions has been driven by the shift away from burning coal for power generation. As electricity demand fell and renewable energy made up a larger share of the power mix, carbon dioxide emissions from the sector fell by nearly 12% in 2020.

U.K.’s 2020 Emission Drop Sees It Almost Halfway to Net Zero

U.K. CO2 pollution - which makes up the largest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions - fell by almost 11% in 2020, caused mainly by a significant drop in road use, as lockdowns ground the country to a halt.

Half of the drop in CO2 output came from the 20% fall in transport emissions. Meanwhile residential sector emissions increased by 1.8% as people stayed at home as 85% of U.K. households burn gas for heating.

The U.K.’s net-zero emissions target doesn’t include emissions from imported goods or emissions attached to shipping and aviation.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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