Official government statistics estimate that UK greenhouse gas emissions covered by the Kyoto Protocol were down 7% in 2011.
The figures published today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) calculate that the total emissions of six main greenhouse gases totalled 549.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) down from 590.4 MtCO2e in 2010.
The main greenhouse gas, CO2, was estimated to be down 8% in 2011 from 495.8 MtCO2e the previous year.
Furthermore, CO2 emissions appear to have decreased across most sectors, with the residential sector down 22%, the business sector down 8% and emissions from the energy supply sector 6.1% lower than in 2010. The transport sector was largely unchanged, with emissions showing a slight 1.4% decrease.
The government analysis says the main underlying cause for the decrease is lower residential gas use over 2011, perhaps because of the milder weather, coupled with reduced electricity demand and greater use of nuclear power.
The energy statistics also report a record 13.5% fall in total energy production, due to declining oil and gas production, which pushed net import dependency to 36.5% – the highest level since 1976.
Declining oil and gas production also mean that imports of both fuels over took home production in 2010.
But the fastest growing area is renewables, which saw its share of generated electricity jump over 35% to 34.8 TWh in 2011, increasing its proportion of generation from 6.8% to 9.5%. The UK’s renewable energy capacity has now reached 12.2 GW as of the end of 2011, up nearly a third on 2010.
Low-carbon generation, including nuclear power and renewables, now make up 28.4% of the UK’s total, with nuclear up over 11%.
But despite falling energy use, particularly in the domestic sector, 2011 has seen dramatic price rises with electricity up 12.4% by the end of the year compared to 2010 and gas up over 20%.
For further information:
UK government fails to make decision on greenhouse gas reporting (27-Mar)
UK Chancellor’s 2012 Budget boosts fossil fuels (22-Mar)
Warmer temperatures push UK energy use down 7% in 2011 (24-Feb)
UK greenhouse gas emissions rise 3.1% in 2010 (8-Feb)
30 March 2012