The impact of lockdown, and in particular the reduced rate of transport journeys, has delivered the biggest fall in greenhouse gas emissions ever, writes Ashley Norris of Transition Earth.
The figures just issued by the UK Government show that emissions fell by an enormous 8.9% in 2020. This is down 48.8% on 1990 levels.
The biggest fall was in transport-related emissions which dropped 19.6% in 2020 and accounted for half of the overall fall from 2019. Emissions from other sectors also slowed with the business sector falling by 8.7%. Not surprisingly, though, home emissions rose slightly, up by 1.8%. The fall in emissions was most pronounced in the early part of the year, especially the spring.
The levels of emissions have been monitored since 1999. The largest previous fall was during the 2009 recessions when emission dropped by 8.6%.
The report does conclude though that the largest driver of the long-term fall in UK emissions has been the shift in the power sector away from using coal for electricity generation towards gas and renewables.
It will be fascinating to see how the figures for 2021 compare.