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UK CO2 Trends–Handy Guide

March 5, 2019

By Paul Homewood






Further to my earlier post on UK CO2 emission trends, I thought it would be useful to produce this handy little summary of the changes between 1990 and 2016. I’ll update to 2018 when the numbers are out.


Emissions have dropped from 596 MTCO2 in 1990 to 356 MtCO2 in 2016, a drop of 240 MTCO2 or 40%. (If emissions from biomass are included, the reduction is only 226 MtCO2)



The bulk of the reductions have occurred in industrial consumption (63 MtCO2) and power stations (137 MtCO2):





According to my own analysis, more than half of the claimed savings have nothing at all to do with climate policies – reduced industrial demand, dash for gas in the 1990s, and increased electricity imports.





1) Details of my workings are here:

2) Official emissions data is here:

  1. otteryd permalink
    March 5, 2019 5:05 pm

    So sorry to be thick but what (or who?) is LULUCF?

    • March 5, 2019 6:46 pm


      Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry

      Less emissions effectively means we have planted some new forests, in this case.

  2. Stuart Brown permalink
    March 5, 2019 5:42 pm

    I wondered that…

    Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF), also referred to as Forestry and other land use (FOLU), is defined by the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat as a “greenhouse gas inventory sector that covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from direct human-induced land use such as settlements and commercial uses, land-use change, and forestry activities.”

    According to Wikipedia.

    • otteryd permalink
      March 5, 2019 5:48 pm

      Stuart – thank you. I stand educated. My fevered imagination prefers a vision of Lulu, however!

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 5, 2019 9:09 pm

      Ahh. A CO² sink and and a subsidy sink at the same time. Kerching!

  3. Richard Phillips permalink
    March 5, 2019 6:50 pm

    Interesting that CO2 emissions have fallen, but even more interesting would be a definitive, quantitative, explanation of the mechanism by which CO2 influences global warming.

    The examination of radiative heat balance does not seem to be agreed, the figures are still, as I understand it, disputed. Certainly its influence upon the level of water vapour in the atmosphere is not well understood.

    The most promoted views, maximising the effects are of course the official ones, with little scientific rigour to back them up, but giving rise to public anxiety, and eagerness to see action. Which promotes huge business interests of dubious value.

    Influence, yes, of course, but of what magnitude???

    Richard Phillips

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 5, 2019 9:12 pm

    Of course, if the UK would get real with the deployment of shale gas, as the USA has done, the reduction in CO² would be that much lower (assuming a lower CO² is the answer to all the world’s ills).

  5. Judy Ryan permalink
    March 5, 2019 10:05 pm

    I think it means that the UK is slowly going down the gurgler. Australia will follow, Oligarchs winning.




  6. johnbillscott permalink
    March 6, 2019 12:41 pm

    Planting tree seedlings will absorb only a fraction of CO2 absorbed by a mature tree I think the biomass cycle is in the order of 50 years,

    I guess we can use the CO2 data to define the economic decline.

  7. matthew dalby permalink
    March 8, 2019 12:15 pm

    How much of the reduction is genuine, and how much due to fiddling the figure? E.g. are the emissions from power stations burning fossil fuels on spinning standby ready to back up wind power get included? Are emissions from aviation included, or the shipping needed to import all the goods that are no longer made in this country?

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