Greenhouse gas emissions fall as energy sector's pollution drops by a third

Ashley Kirk
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Recently installed wind turbines in the shadow of Drax, Europe's biggest coal fired power station, in Selby (Source: Getty)

The UK's greenhouse gas emissions reached their lowest level in decades, according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.

In 2013, the UK emitted a total 643.1m tonnes of greenhouse gases, down two per cent on 2012's level.

This was down on 24.5 per cent on 1991's high of 852.2m tonnes.

The majority of greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, accounting to 84.4 per cent of 2013's total emissions.

Between 1990 and 2013, carbon dioxide emissions fell by 14.1 per cent. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions dropped further, by 59 and 51.4 per cent respectively.

Energy supply, water and waste sector is the biggest emitter

The energy supply, water and waste sector had the highest emissions of any UK sector in 2013. The sector emitted a total of 189.8m tonnes in 2013, 29.5 per cent of all UK greenhouse gas emissions.

This is despite it having one of the largest decreases in emissions since 1990. As a proportion of 1990 levels, emissions from the energy supply, water and waste sector have fallen by 34.4 per cent.

The biggest drop took place in the mining and quarrying industry - where emissions fell 53 per cent on 1990 levels, or 20m tonnes. In the public administration, defence and manufacturing sectors, emissions have dropped 50 per cent since 1990.

Where do our greenhouse gas emissions come from?

While the UK's energy supply, water and waste sector contributes the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions, the accommodation and food services, manufacturing and education sectors each contribute significantly to the country's pollution level.

The financial and insurance, and public administration and defence sectors had the smallest emissions - emitting 0.21m and 0.23m tonnes respectively.

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