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Recession cuts carbon emissions

The UK's carbon emissions for 2009 fell compared to the previous year, due mainly to the recession. This is the conclusion drawn from the latest statistics, released in February 2011. Energy Minister Chris Huhne commented: 'Yes, emissions were down in 2009, but so was the economy, so this is no time for back slapping."rugeley power station

Total UK emissions of the main greenhouse gases were estimated to be 566.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared with 620.5 million tonnes in 2008. Carbon dioxide itself accounted for 84% of the total. Falls occurred in all major sectors, with declines of 11% in both the energy supply and business sectors, 36% from industrial processes, 4.2% in transport and nearly 6% in the residential sector.

The report highlights two main factors contributing to the declines: reduced consumption across all sectors, with a significant decline in demand for electricity due to contraction of the economy, and a consequent increase in the proportion of electricity generated by nuclear power stations.

UK emissions: the bigger picture

The UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory gives a much fuller picture of changes in this country's emissions over the last two decades, for all sectors. It also describes how emisisons are measured, how sectors are classified, and so on. Click here to view the main Inventory page.

Local authority area emissions

You can also monitor carbon emissions in any of the UK's 434 local authorities, and identify changes between the years 2005 and 2008, the latest year for which data are available. For example in 2008, carbon dioxide emissions for Stafford Borough were estimated at 1316 thousand tonnes, and for Staffordshire the total was 7546 thousand tonnes. These compare with figures of 1339 and 7831, respectively, for 2005.

The 2008 local authority data can be found on the DECC website. A summary of the UK local authority greenhouse gas emissions along with interactive maps, has been produced by the Guardian, and can be found on the paper's website by clicking here.