2018 marks the sixth year of falling carbon dioxide emissions of UK, the country cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 percent from the previous year, according to a new report.
As a matter of fact, analysis of raw government data shows that, carbon dioxide emissions in 2018 hit their lowest since 1888. The only two years in between which saw less carbon dioxide emissions were 1893 and 1926, when huge strikes led to electricity cut in much of the industrial sector.
According to Weather Channel, the latest figures mean that carbon emissions each person in the UK produces a year average at about 5.4 metric tons, the lowest since 1858.
The main reason for the falling emissions is that the nation reduced reliance on coal in electricity generation, and the shrinking emissions first happened in 2013.
“This is the longest stretch of consecutive years with falling emissions,” said Simon Evans, lead author of the report.
However, Evans noted that, the emissions fall in 2018 was the smallest contribution over the past six years. Giving that the British government is phasing out coal-powered power stations, the margin for emissions fall will be further pinched as the phasing out is drawing to its end, which is estimated to come by 2025.
Evans also warned that, the emissions cuts is mainly achieved in coal-powered sectors, there are still other sectors burning oil and gas and pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Coal-fired power stations now only produces about 5 percent of the nation’s electricity, which means there is little room for further emissions reductions across this sector. In 2012, about 40 percent of the nation’s power was coal-fired. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 33 percent of its energy mix in power production.
Figures from Carbon Brief show that the country is inching towards its goal of cutting the 1990 level of carbon dioxide production by 80 percent before 2050. The UK emitted about 600 magatonnes of carbon dioxide in 1990, compared to 361 million metric tons in 2018, about 39 percent of the 1990 total.
But critics voice that, as the global warming is happening, the government needs to take more actions, more quickly.
The Committee on Climate Change, advisor to the government on global warming issues, proposes that more green energy should be used, such as for heating and transportation.
Britain’s opposition Labour Party shared the view, saying the government must speed up decarbonization.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, Britain’s shadow business secretary said that, the government is wrong if it gets complacent about the falling emissions, as everybody knows that slow progress on climate change is the same as losing.