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High energy bills and warm year reduce UK 2022 greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5%

The latest ONS release of the UK’s final greenhouse gas (GHG) emission statistics for 2022 finds that emissions fell by 3.5% between 2021 and 2022. 


In 2022, net territorial greenhouse gas emissions in the UK were estimated to be 406.2 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), a decrease of 3.5% from the 2021 figure of 421.1 million tonnes, and 9.3% lower when compared to 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic year. 


This reduction between 2021 and 2022 was primarily caused by a reduction in gas use for heating buildings, as a result of warmer weather in 2022 and higher energy prices causing people to cut back on energy use. 


A 5% fall in greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector and a 12% drop in greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture sector between 2021 and 2022 also contributed to the overall reduction.


Total greenhouse gas emissions in 2022 were 50.0% lower than they were in 1990 while carbon dioxide made up 80% of the 2022 GHG total. 


Diane Crowe, head of group sustainability at Reconomy, commented that 2022 ‘registered a notable drop in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions as high energy bills drove a change in business and household behaviours.


‘With gas costs soaring in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we saw households cut back on energy usage to save money in a cost of living crisis while businesses also had to adapt to survive in a difficult economic climate.


‘These reductions are encouraging and demonstrates that our actions can make a difference however, there remains a way to go to achieve our emission reduction targets which are crucial in playing our part in addressing the global climate change emergency. 


‘We must address this disparity by prioritising measures that support our achieving net zero objectives such as transitioning to low emission energy sources and implementing circular resource management practices.’



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