UK becomes first major economy to halve emissions

Official statistics released by the Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero confirm the UK to be the first major economy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% between 1990 and 2022, while growing its economy by 79%.

The UK plans to cut emissions by 68% by 2030. Current reductions are credited largely to reduced emissions from energy generation, namely the shift from coal to renewables.

In 2012, coal provided almost 40% of UK electricity, a figure that is expected to hit zero later this year.

Renewables now account for more than 40% of the country’s electricity – up from just 7% in 2010 – positioning the UK as a leader in clean energy.

The 50% emission reduction between 1990 and 2022 compares to a 23% reduction in France and no change in the USA.

The statistics also confirmed the UK has over-achieved on the carbon budget for the third time in a row.


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Energy security secretary Claire Coutinho said: “The UK is the first major economy – of the top 20 countries – to halve its emissions”.

“This is an enormous achievement by itself but also because we have done this in a pragmatic way – growing our economy by 80% at the same time and protecting family finances.”

“With some of the most ambitious targets in the world, we should be proud that we’ve over-achieved on our carbon budget for the third time in a row.

“We will continue to meet out targets but in a pragmatic way that doesn’t clobber extra costs onto hard-working families.”

Since September alone, UK companies have announced plans for £30 billion of new investment across the energy sector, including to advance green technologies and support green industries of the future.

Reconomy head of group sustainability Diane Crow said that while the reductions are positive, there still remains “a way to go”.

“We must address this disparity by prioritising measures that support our achieving net-zero objectives such as transitioning to low-emission energy sources and implementing circular resource management practice,” Crow added.

Circular economyClimate crisisEnergyNet zeroNews

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