UK emissions drop 5% as people use less gas to heat homes | UK | News

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Britons using less gas at home last year has led to a drop in greenhouse gas emissions, official figures have revealed.

The gases which cause global warming fell by 5.4% in 2023, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) said.

Jess Ralston, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “The UK’s spent over £100 billion on gas since the start of the crisis, with most people really feeling the pinch in their energy bills – so it’s no surprise that expensive energy has meant people use less of it.”

Total UK greenhouse gas emissions reached 384.2 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent last year.

DEZNZ said: “This decrease in 2023 is primarily due to a reduction in gas demand from the electricity supply and buildings and product uses sectors.”

Gas power generation in Britain fell by 21.1% in 2023, the provisional data showed.

Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: “This latest drop in our emissions follows the UK’s achievement in becoming the first major economy to halve its polluting carbon emissions.

“We have done all this whilst growing our economy by 80%, and shielding families from unnecessary costs.”    

Energy prices for most UK households hit record highs at the end of 2022 despite support from the government and did not begin to fall until July 2023.

Ms Ralston said: “Our reliance on gas for home heating has left many colder and poorer.

“Insulated homes waste less energy and so cost less to heat. In the middle of a gas crisis, it seems all the more bizarre that the Government last September U-turned on warm home standards for landlords leaving renters to face either high bills or a cold home for years to come. 

“With its home insulation programmes lagging, it seems the Government is more focussed on drilling in the North Sea which, it finally had to admit, won’t actually help with bills.”

Emissions from transport dropped just 1% last year and emissions from buildings were only down 6%.

Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Any fall in UK emissions is much needed, but let’s not fool ourselves that we’re on track to meet our international obligations or our legal carbon budgets by 2030.

“Emissions from buildings and transport remain stubbornly high and the government doesn’t have policy in place yet to deliver the cuts needed for the planet or to uphold our international promises. 

“[Rishi] Sunak needs to get serious about insulation, heat pumps and public transport, and must rapidly scale up the roll out of renewables and the electrification of vehicles to get us on track.”

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