UK cutting carbon twice as fast as any other major economy

The UK has managed to cut carbon from its power supply at almost double the rate of other major economies over the past decade.

The quarterly Drax Electric Insights report places the UK far ahead of the US, Germany, Australia and China in reducing carbon and the country also leads the US in terms of reduction growth.

As has been reported before, the dramatic replacement of coal for energy production has had a significant impact, and may not be easy to maintain such clear reduction going forward, but none-the-less a six-fold increase in renewable power is also a notable achievement, and one that can be scaled forward.

Globally the news is generally positive too, but India, Brazil and Vietnam saw their carbon emission from power actually increase over the last ten years.

Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College London and the author of the report commented: “Of the thirty largest electricity consumers (all over 100 TWh per year), the UK has decarbonised faster than anywhere else over the last decade. The UK’s carbon intensity fell from 450 to 195 g/kWh, a fall of 58 per cent. British households are emitting three quarters of a tonne of CO2 less per year just from changes in the power system alone.”

Taking aim at mainstream reporting, particularly of the US and China, Staffell caustically added: “These are not the places that many would associate with world-leading shifts towards clean energy – as the soundbites of China building a coal power station every week, or ”Trump digs coal” live long in the memory. But, these countries embody the two big macro trends going on in electricity generation: the shrinking role for coal, and growing share of renewables.”

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