Greenhouse emissions fall by a total of 44% since 1990

In 2019, UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 3% since 2018, resulting in a decrease of 44% since 1990.

More specifically, net territorial emissions of greenhouse gases were estimated to be 454.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, a decrease of 2.8% to the 2018 figure of 468.1 million tonnes and 43.8%.

This puts them lower than they were in 1990, and, Carbon Dioxide made the majority of the greenhouse gas mix as CO2 attributed to 80% of emissions.

Methane accounted for about 12% of UK emissions and nitrous oxide for about 5% of emissions in 2019, meanwhile Fluorinated gases accounted for the other 3%.

This decrease in greenhouse emissions has been a result of reductions in emissions from the energy supply sector as the UK moves from non-renewable sources of energy to renewable ones.

The change in the energy mix caused a large reduction in the amount of coal used in electricity generation causing emissions from energy supplies to be 65.5% lower than they were in 1990.

Transport emissions have fallen by 1.8%, however, transportation is still responsible for 27% of all greenhouse emissions within the UK making it the largest contributor of pollution.

Despite innovation in fuel-efficiency, which has developed less wasteful vehicles which do not output as much pollution, the increase in the number of vehicles on the road due to population growth has offset the technological developments.

Because of this, the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation have remained relatively similar over the years since 1990.

After transport, energy supply is the second-largest polluter, followed by business, residential, agricultural and then waste-management sectors.

The energy supply sector emits a total of 21% of the UK’s greenhouse emissions with carbon-dioxide being the industries most prominent gas consisting of 84% of emissions.

Nevertheless, the emissions from this sector have been declining. There was an 8% fall in emissions between 2018 and 2019, with a fall of 66% since 1990; this decrease is likely attributed to the reduction in coal usage as, since 1990, coal usage has fallen by 96%, with a more recent decrease of 56% between 2018 and 2019.

The business sector, which contributes to 17% of greenhouse gas emissions within the UK, has seen a decrease of 3%, and, in 2019, these emissions were 32% lower than their 1990 counterparts.

The residential sector is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, and, agriculture contributes too with its emissions being 10% of the overall sum. Nevertheless, both sectors saw a 1% decrease in emissions between 2018 and 2019 with the agriculture sector decreasing emissions by 13% since 1990.

Finally, waste management is responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, and, since 1990, emissions decreased by a massive 71% as improvements were made in the standards of landfilling as well as the change which economic agents made towards biodegradable waste.

Hence, the reduction in emissions of all these industries, as well as many more, has led to the UK reducing its emissions by 44% since 1990, a massive improvement in air quality.

The constantly improving air quality is significant because every year 36,000 people die from poor air quality in the UK, and, every 20 minutes a child is admitted into hospital with an asthma attack.

This means decreasing greenhouse emissions will help alleviate the respiratory problems that individuals experienced due to poor air quality, helping alleviate pressure on the NHS.

Due to there being only 2.54 hospital beds per 1000 people, less pressure on the NHS means the public health service will be able to allocate extra scarce resources to catering towards individuals who need urgent help, such as those in A&E.

Overall, because of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the economy will see an increase in public health, because of this, people will take less time off work, yielding increased output per person as individuals are more productive.

Therefore, workers may be more likely to get promotions, increasing their wage which will result in an increase in income tax for the government, enabling the government to allocate more resources towards infrastructure projects such as, HS2, a high-speed railway from London to Manchester costing £106bn designed to improve the geographical mobility of labour within the economy.

It is apparent that the government has worked tirelessly with the cooperation of the private sector to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, thus, in conclusion, the dedication of these sectors has enabled common households within the economy to live healthier and more fulfilling lives as we look towards a greener, more sustainable future.


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