The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 were 51% below 1990 levels, according to new Carbon Brief analysis. This means the UK is now halfway to meeting its target of “net-zero” emissions by 2050.
The milestone was reached after a record-breaking 11% fall in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Emissions are likely to rebound this year or next as the economy recovers.
The nature of the decline in 2020 shows how challenging it will be for the UK to eliminate its remaining emissions. It also illustrates the progress made so far, ahead of the UK hosting the COP26 UN climate summit in November.
Here, Carbon Brief sets out what contributed to the fall in emissions in 2020 and what it means for the next phase of the UK’s legally binding net-zero goal.