Climate Action reports that a significant decline in the use of coal has driven down UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the lowest levels since the 19th century.
According to a Carbon Brief analysis of Department of Energy, Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) data, CO2 emissions fell by 5.8% in 2016, after coal use fell a record 52%. The decline in the use of coal is largely attributable to higher domestic carbon prices and the surge in renewables – in 2015, the carbon tax doubled to £18 per tonne of CO2. Here are some highlights:
- Since 2006, Coal use has fallen by 74% and is now 12 times below the peak of 221 millions of tonnes (Mt) burnt in 1956.
- Three coal-fired power stations were closed in 2016 – Longannet, Fife, Ferrybridge C, West Yorkshire, and Rugeley, Staffordshire.
- The UK is beginning to scale up its use of low-carbon energy sources as it plans to phase out coal-fired power plants altogether by 2025.
- While emissions from coal declined in 2016, emissions from gas rose by 12.5% due to its increased use to generate electricity, but the use of gas remains well below its peak in the 2000s.
- Emissions from oil increased slightly, by 1.6%, as a result of low oil prices
BEIS is set to publish its own projections on 30 March.