Britain boasts an emissions dip

Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK dipped nearly 2 per cent last year, with coal generation down 9 per cent and gas falling 7 per cent.


Britain's greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.9 per cent in 2013 due to a decline in fossil-fuel power generation, preliminary government data showed on Thursday.

Output of the heat-trapping gases in Europe's second-largest emitter dipped to 569.9 million metric tons compared to 581.1 million metric tons in 2012, data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed.

Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for climate change, accounted for 82 per cent of 2013 emissions and fell 2.1 per cent to 464.3 million metric tons.

The bulk of Britain's emissions, some 38 per cent, came from energy supply, followed by transport at 25 per cent, residential at 17 per cent and business at 16 per cent. The rest came from sectors including agriculture and waste management.

DECC said the overall fall largely resulted from an 8 per cent decrease in emissions from electricity generation, spurred by a 9 per cent reduction in coal use and a 7 per cent fall in gas use.

Data published in February showed overall UK power generation fell 2 per cent to 321.60 terawatt-hours in 2013.

Coal-fired power generation is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions because burning the fuel produces almost double the amount of CO2 than gas-fired generation.

British utilities are major buyers of carbon permits under the European Union's Emissions Trading System, which requires big emitters to surrender one permit for every tonne of carbon dioxide they emit each year.

However, the fall in emissions is unlikely to mean Britain's carbon permit demand declined in 2013. An ETS rule change from January 2013 means most EU utilities received no free allowances last year and must pay in full for the scheme's 2013-2020 phase.

On April 2, the European Commission will grant access to 2013 CO2 figures for the near 12,000 installations covered by the EU ETS, which account for around 45 per cent of the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions.

The data release is an important date in the EU carbon market's calendar as it gives a glimpse of the overall demand-supply balance for EU emission permits.

Britain has a legally binding target to cut its CO2 emissions by 2050 to 80 per cent below 1990 levels.

UK emissions have so far fallen 21 per cent since 1990, DECC said.

Originally published by Reuters. Reproduced with permission.

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