This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Press Ref: 12/008
Commenting on an increase in emissions in 2010, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:
“Emissions were up in 2010 because of the exceptionally cold weather and greater use of fossil fuels. One year won’t knock the UK off meeting its long term emission reduction targets, but it serves to underline the importance of the Coalition’s policies for insulating homes to cut bills and emissions and moving to greener alternative forms of energy.”
Greenhouse gas emissions - headline results
In 2010, UK emissions of the basket of six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol were estimated to be 590.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). This was 3.1 per cent higher than the 2009 figure of 572.5 million tonnes. Between 2009 and 2010 the largest increases were experienced in the residential sector, up 15.1 per cent (11.8 MtCO2e), and the energy supply sector, up by 2.8 per cent (5.6 MtCO2e). Emissions from all other sectors were relatively stable, compared to 2009 levels.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, accounting for about 84 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. In 2010, UK net emissions of carbon dioxide were estimated to be 495.8 million tonnes (Mt). This was around 3.8 per cent higher than the 2009 figure of 477.8 Mt. There were notable increases in emissions from the residential sector, up by 15.8 per cent (11.8 Mt), and from the energy supply sector, up 3.1 per cent (5.8 Mt). Again, emissions from all other sectors were relatively unchanged from 2009.
The overall increase in emissions has primarily resulted from a rise in residential gas use, combined with fuel switching away from nuclear power to coal and gas for electricity generation. In 2010, these factors mainly affected emissions of carbon dioxide, rather than other gases, and since CO2 makes the largest contribution to the UK total, any change in CO2 emissions is likely to drive a similar change in total emissions.
All the sectoral breakdowns included in this statistical release are based on the source of the emissions, as opposed to where the end-user activity occurred. Emissions related to electricity generation are therefore attributed to power stations, the source of these emissions, rather than homes and businesses where electricity is used.