UK greenhouse gas emissions dropped 9% in 2020 amid pandemic

Susanna Twidale
·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A cyclist rides past an electric public bus on the day that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan outlined plans to place a levy on the most polluting vehicles in London, Britain

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 8.9% in 2020, largely driven by a slump in economic activity due to measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, provisional government data showed on Thursday.

Government measures over the past year to control the pandemic have at times shut down large parts of the economy, leading to lower power demand and fewer cars on the road.

GHG emissions were estimated at 414 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said in a preliminary report.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main GHG, were estimated to be 326 million tonnes, 10.7% lower than in 2019.

Britain’s emissions have fallen for the last eight years in a row, and are now 48.8% below 1990 levels.

The country has a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale. Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Potter)