New government figures have revealed that Greenhouse gas emissions fell slightly in 2022, with homes and transport remaining the highest emitting sectors.
According to the figures, the emissions for the territorial UK were equivalent to 406.2m tonnes of CO2, down 3.5% from 2021 and 50% from 1990. This is even as homes and transport were found to have contributed the most to the problem, with domestic transport responsible for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions, and homes and product use 20%.
Agriculture was responsible for 12%, electricity supply 14% and industry 14%. Fuel supply was responsible for 8%, and waste 4%. Land use and forestry created 0.2% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Domestic transport emissions rose 2% year on year, but government officials mostly attributed this to a bounce-back from the coronavirus pandemic. There was a significant drop in transport emissions in 2020, when people stayed at home due to lockdowns, and travel has not yet recovered to pre-2020 levels.
Government policies, such as scrapping high-speed rail projects, building more roads and failing to ensure that rail travel is as reliable and affordable as driving, mean that emissions are unlikely to fall to levels needed to reach net zero, experts have said.
Emissions from buildings fell by 13%, but this is mostly because the unseasonably warm year meant that people used less heating, as well as high energy prices causing people to cut back on their use, according to the government figures.
Experts said that government policies meant this fall was unlikely to be sustained, particularly as ministers are expected to drop targets for heat pumps, and home insulation is hitting record low rates.
Doug Parr, who is the policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Any reduction in emissions is welcome news, but this is no time to be complacent. Homes and transport remain the biggest emitters, with stubbornly high levels persisting, and the plans for dealing with them don’t cut the mustard.
“Building insulation rates dropped to an all-time low, and yet the government looks set to roll back policy on cleaning up heating. Similarly they overturned targets for electric vehicles and allowed disinformation about electric vehicles to grow. This is not a moment for celebration, but to realise how much more there is to do.”
Story was adapted from the Guardian.