UK reports promising decline in emissions

Cooling towers at UK’s largest power plant Drax. Photo credit: Les Haines via Flickr.

By Anders Lorenzen

UK environmentalists finally have cause to celebrate with the news that greenhouse gas emissions fell by 8.4% in 2014, with CO2 emissions making the largest drop, decreasing by 9.7% to 422 million tons.

Data released by the UK government shows that a drop in fossil fuel powered energy production as well as increased energy from renewable sources is behind the reduction. Coal fired electricity generation in the UK, which is EU’s second largest emitter, dropped to a five year low, though overall power generation also fell by 7.2%.

These statistics will give renewed ammunition to Prime Minister David Cameron, currently wrapped up in a re-election campaign, that his climate change policies are working. Climate campaigners, however, argue he is not doing enough.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner, Guy Schrubsole, responded to the findings stating: Such a sharp drop in emissions in one year is encouraging news. Clean solar and wind power are skyrocketing as prices continue to tumble. But this doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels – the Government should build on the momentum and set more targets for getting off fossil fuels faster.’’

Upon taking office in 2010, Cameron promised he would lead the ‘greenest government ever’. Since then however, he has promised to end subsidies for onshore wind power and unveiled new subsidies for fracking companies and the North Sea oil and gas sector if he is re-elected next month. These moves which have fiercely angered environmentalists.

The UK will head to the polls on the 7th of May.

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