Some good news to start the week: Britain’s carbon emissions have continued their sharp decline. That’s according to Carbon Brief, who say that the UK’s carbon emissions have dropped right back to where they were in 1890.
The main driving force behind the decline is the phasing out of coal. 2017 saw Britain’s first day with no coal power since the industrial revolution, and the government’s target to end coal power by 2025 is on track. Around 5% of Britain’s primary energy still comes from coal, so there’s another year or two of similar declines before the ‘easy wins’ of coal reduction are wrung out. At that point, Britain’s nosediving emissions may return to a more disappointing norm.
Progress on other sources of emissions remains slow, with oil use actually rising last year. As we saw recently, transport emissions have now leap-frogged energy as the main source of greenhouse gases. Transport and heating are the next big challenges, but let’s acknowledge progress where we see it, and raise a coffee mug to the end of coal.