Green Book . Country

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is Europe’s 2nd largest economy and the world’s 5th.

Environmental Data

The UK has taken significant steps forward in de-carbonising the economy. These have included investing in wind farms and solar, providing grants for small scale generation and electric vehicle purchases.

Total CO2 Equivalent Emissions

The latest pan-EU data for CO2 Equivalent Emissions shows the UK is the second worst polluter. (Note: the latest data available from Eurostat is for the year 2016.)

2019-04-24 UK CO2 Equivalent Emissions 2016
2019-04-24 UK CO2 Equivalent Emissions 2016
CountryMillions Tonnes CO2 Equivalent
EU Mean158.6
Italy438.2
France475.4
United Kingdom516.8
Germany935.8

Progress to reducing CO2 Equivalent Emissions

While emissions are high, the UK has made significant steps in reducing CO2 Equivalent Emissions. Between 2006 and 16, a 30% reduction was recorded, representing one of the largest improvements in the EU and greater than the other 3 “big 4” economies.

Country% Change
United Kingdom-28.40%
Italy-24.40%
EU Mean-16.09%
France-14.80%
Germany-8.70%

Better than average emissions per head

The UK’s population generates a slightly better than average amount of pollution per head of population. However, both Italy and France fare better.

CountryMillions Tonnes CO2 Equivalent
France7.1
Italy7.2
United Kingdom7.9
EU Mean8.7
Germany11.3

The economy is decarbonising

The economy is trending towards being greener. France’s matches the UK’s performance, although the faster rate of decarbonisation should mean it falls further and faster still.

CountryMillions Tonnes CO2 Equivalent
France0.22
United Kingdom0.22
Italy0.26
Germany0.3
EU Mean0.3

Commentary

The UK’s CO2 equivalent emissions remain the second highest in the EU by some margin. While rapid reductions have been experienced, these have the potential to slow due to changes in Government policy. A shift to natural gas for electricity generation and removal of grants and feed-in-tariffs for small generators could slow progress.

The economy has also been heavily reliant on services, which tend towards lower emissions. Encouraging manufacturing in the country post-Brexit could still rises follow.

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