UK Quarterly Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decline 1.4% in Q1 2023

The latest experimental estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK on a residence basis declined by 1.4% in the first quarter (Jan to Mar) of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. The estimated emissions for Q1 2023 stood at 151 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt Co2e).

These experimental estimates provide a timely and more frequent analysis of UK greenhouse gas emissions, making them directly comparable with key economic statistics, including gross domestic product (GDP). The residence-based emissions differ from territorial measures used to monitor UK emissions targets.

The fall in emissions in Q1 2023 comes after seven consecutive quarters of increases since Q2 2021, following a dip in emissions due to pandemic-related restrictions in 2020. The reduction in industrial energy consumption, particularly in sectors like Energy and Manufacture of Basic Metals, has contributed to the decline.

It is essential to consider that these experimental estimates are subject to uncertainty and should be interpreted with caution. The underlying input data and the modelling process introduce some uncertainty, particularly for the periods of 2022 and Q1 2023, as there is no annual estimate of GHG emissions on a residence basis to constrain these estimates.

The experimental quarterly estimates help align GHG emissions with the timeliness and frequency of UK GDP estimates, allowing for a better understanding of the relationship between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. The continued analysis of emissions intensity shows that the UK is moving towards a lower carbon economy, with GHG emissions per unit of gross value added (GVA) steadily decreasing since 1999.