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

An electronic road traffic sign signals 'No Holiday Travel' beside empty lanes on the M3 motorway during the national lockdown on Easter weekend in Fleet, U.K., on Friday, April 10, 2020. The U.K. will tighten a nationwide lockdown if needed to halt the spread of coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as officials face demands to say how they will eventually lift the restrictions that have brought normal life to a standstill.

(Bloomberg) --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.

By Ronan Martin
Mar 25, 2021, 2:05 PM
Word Count: 201

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. 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.

–With assistance from Akshat Rathi.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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