UK reaches midway to net zero milestone with GHG emissions falling 5.4%

image is Steve Hill Net Zero

Government data shows a reduction of 53% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2023, putting the UK half way to net zero.

Figures have suggested the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 5.4% in 2023 after a drop in gas usage to heat homes and generate electricity. Government data last month cited Britain as the first major economy to halve its territorial carbon emissions across several key sectors.

Data shows a reduction of 53% between 1990 and 2023, putting the country half way to net zero – the figure is 50% when emissions from international aviation and shipping are included.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) said reliance on gas is decreasing as the UK shifts to renewable energy sources.

On the right route

The electricity supply sector reported a cut in emissions of 19.6%, followed by homes at 7.2%, and industry with an 8% fall. The latest statistics surpass last month’s official 2022 data that saw the UK become the first major economy to halve its emissions.

The DESNZ says the figures reflect the UK’s “world-leading record” on renewable electricity, with the five largest operational offshore wind farm projects and nearly half of electricity generation coming from renewables, compared to just 7% in 2010.

It says this was done this while supporting families to make positive changes without “extra financial burdens”, and growing the economy.

Witnessing positive change

DESNZ says the UK reduced territorial GHG emissions by 428 MtCO2e between 1990 and 2023; more than combined emissions reductions from the US, Canada, France, Italy and Japan (1990-2021).

Total GHG emissions were estimated at 384.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2023. The electricity sector, which makes up about 11% of Britain’s GHG emissions, recorded the biggest drop at 41.1 MtCO2e, compared with 51.9 MtCO2e in 2022.

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

It also suggested a rebound in French nuclear power output in 2023 meant the UK was able to import more electricity, reducing need for homegrown fossil fuel power production, alongside a drop in demand.

Green investments

The UK government said since 2010 the country has attracted £300 billion in low carbon investment, with a further £100 billion expected by 2030, supporting up to 480,000 UK jobs. 

DESNZ added: “Companies have announced plans for £24 billion of new low carbon investment since September alone, showing confidence in the UK to support its green transition.”


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the best of Energy Connects directly to your inbox each week.

By subscribing, you agree to the processing of your personal data by dmg events as described in the Privacy Policy.

Back To Top