Greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to global warming and climate change. Like many other countries, the UK has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the global climate crisis. However, we need to understand where emissions come from before reducing them. This article will explore the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.
The transport sector is the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 24% of total emissions in 2020. Most of these emissions come from road transport, such as cars, vans, and lorries, which use fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel.
To tackle emissions from the transport sector, the UK government has introduced measures such as subsidies for electric vehicles, investment in public transport, and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. However, reducing emissions from the transport sector is a significant challenge, and more action is needed to achieve the UK’s emissions targets.
2. Energy supply
The energy supply sector is the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. This sector includes producing and distributing electricity, heat, and gas. In 2020, this sector was responsible for 21% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Most of these emissions come from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity and heat.
The UK government has committed to phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2025 and replacing them with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. In recent years, the use of renewable energy sources has increased significantly, and in 2020, renewable energy sources generated 43% of the UK’s electricity. However, much work must be done to transition to a low-carbon energy system.
The building sector is responsible for around 16% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. This sector includes residential and commercial buildings and covers heating, cooling, lighting, and appliance emissions. Most of these emissions come from heating primarily provided by natural gas boilers.
To reduce emissions from buildings, the UK government has introduced measures such as energy efficiency standards for new buildings and incentives for homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. However, the UK’s existing housing stock is old and inefficient, and retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency is a significant challenge.
4. Agriculture and land use
The agriculture and land use sector is responsible for around 11% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. This sector includes emissions from livestock farming, fertiliser use, and land use changes such as deforestation and peatland degradation.
Emissions of methane (55%) and nitrous oxide (32%) dominate this sector.2020 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Final Figures
To reduce emissions from agriculture and land use, the UK government has introduced measures such as the Agriculture Transition Plan, which aims to reduce emissions from agriculture and improve the sector’s resilience to climate change.
The industrial sector is responsible for around 9% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. This sector includes manufacturing, construction, and mining and covers emissions from industrial processes and energy use. Most of these emissions come from producing iron, steel, cement, and chemicals.
To reduce emissions from industry, the UK government has introduced measures such as the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, which aims to support the development of low-carbon industrial clusters and increase investment in research and development of new low-carbon technologies.
In conclusion, greenhouse gas emissions in the UK come from a range of sectors, including energy supply, transport, buildings, industry, agriculture and land use. The UK government has introduced various measures to reduce emissions from these sectors. Still, more action is needed to achieve the UK’s emissions targets and tackle the global climate crisis.