UK GHG emissions covered by the Kyoto Protocol were estimated to be 581.2 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2012, up from 563.2 million tonnes in 2011.

Between 2011 and 2012, the largest increases were experienced in the residential sector, up 12.3% (8.5MtCO2e) due to increase in residential gas use, and the energy supply sector, up by 5.9% (11.2MtCO2e) due to greater use of coal in electricity generation.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for 82% of total UK GHG emissions in 2012, while UK net emissions of CO2 were estimated to be 474.1 million tonnes (Mt), around 4.4% higher than the 2011 figure of 454.0 Mt.

Despite the UK’s total increase, emissions over the first carbon budget period 2008-12 were 2,981.7 MtCO2e, 36.3 MtCO2e below the first carbon budget period cap of 3,018 MtCO2e.

In addition, UK emissions were an average 604.5 MtCO2e per year over the period 2008-12, 22.5% lower than 1990 levels and surpassing the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol, which required 12.5% emissions cuts on average against a 1990 baseline.

While energy supply (35%) and transport (21%) are the UK’s top contributors of GHG emissions, the figures show that business follows with 15%.

GHG emissions from UK business increased in 2012, following two consecutive years of reduction. The figures show that emissions from UK business fell from 90.3 MtCO2e in 2010 to 85.9 MtCO2e in 2011 but then increased to 86.7 MtCO2e in 2012.

According to the Government, emissions from this sector primarily relate to fossil fuel combustion in industry and commerce. However, emissions of fluorinated gases (F-gases) from the use of fluorinated compounds in certain applications, particularly refrigeration and air-conditioning, are “significant”.

“The business sector is responsible for the majority of emissions from F-gases,” the Government states.

Leigh Stringer

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