Britain's greenhouse gas emissions down 8.4 percent in 2014

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 26, 2015 7:39 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's greenhouse gas emissions fell 8.4 percent in 2014 due to a decline in fossil-fuel power generation, preliminary government data showed on Thursday.

The fall largely resulted from a 15 percent decrease in emissions from the energy supply sector as coal-fired generation fell and output from renewable power sources rose.

Output of the heat-trapping gases in Europe's second-largest emitter fell to 520.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) last year down from 568.3 million tonnes in 2013, preliminary data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed.

Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas blamed for climate change dropped 9.7 percent to 422 million tonnes.

The bulk of Britain's emissions, some 36 percent, came from energy supply, followed by transport at 28 percent, business at 17 percent and residential at 15 percent. The rest came from sectors including agriculture and waste management.

Data published in February showed overall British power generation fell 7.2 percent in 2014, while coal-fired generation which emits almost double the amount of CO2 as gas, dropped to a five year low.

British utilities are major buyers of carbon permits under the European Union's Emissions Trading System (ETS), which requires big emitters to surrender one permit for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit each year.

The fall in emissions is likely to mean Britain's carbon permit demand declined last year.

On April 1, the European Commission will grant access to 2014 CO2 figures for the near 12,000 installations covered by the EU ETS, which account for around 45 percent of the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions.

The data release is an important date in the EU carbon market's calendar as it gives a glimpse of the overall demand-supply balance for EU emission permits.

Britain has a legally binding target to cut its CO2 emissions by 2050 to 80 percent below 1990 levels.

(Reporting By Susanna Twidale Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)