By Susanna Twidale
LONDON – Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 4.7% in 2021 compared with 2020 levels, as the economy recovered following the coronavirus pandemic and road travel increased, government data showed on Thursday.
Britain has a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, which will require changes to the way people eat and travel, as well as how electricity is produced.
“This increase in 2021 is primarily due to the increase in the use of road transport as nationwide lockdowns were eased, along with increases in emissions from power stations and the residential sector,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said in a preliminary report.
Greenhouse gas emissions were estimated at 424.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2021, the BEIS said.
Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, were estimated at 341.5 million tonnes, 6.3% higher than in 2020.
Emissions from the transport sector rose by 10% last year, while emissions from power stations rose 9.2% as more electricity was used.
The 2021 emissions rise came after a fall of almost 9% in 2020, largely driven by a slump in economic activity due to measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.