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UK ranks third among countries leading on emissions reductions

Only the Caribbean island of Curaçao and the eastern European nation of Moldova cut CO2 by more than the United Kingdom in a league table that highlights shortcomings in policies to reduce pollutants. 

Efforts to rein in carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution in the UK place the country in the top three globally for emissions reductions, according to a new study by Utility Bidder that also predicts which territories will be the worst ‘carbon offenders’ by 2032. 

white clouds over city buildings during daytime

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have collectively managed to lower CO2 emissions from 545.9 MtCO2 in 1959 to 370.1 in 2019, with that figure expected to fall to 339.5 within the next ten years. The leader board is topped by Curaçao, with Moldova in second, both cutting levels from 11.0 to 3.7 and 7.3 respectively. 

While this offers some good news that work to slow and stabilise the climate crisis is having an impact, the data raises significant concerns. Firstly, as a major contributor to CO2 emissions, the UK has managed to shave just 0.64% of carbon dioxide emissions in the last  63 years, although it is worth noting the need to cull pollutants became widely accepted, catalysing policy changes, much more recently. 

Meanwhile, of the 93 nations included in the study, only five actually managed to lower CO2 emissions, with Germany and Ukraine the other minor success stories. In comparison, Saudi Arabia saw emissions increased the most in the same timeframe, rising 8.66% from 3.7 MtCO2 in 1959 to 582.6 in 2019, while Thailand and Malaysia were second and third worst performers in terms of rising emissions. 

In related news, new fuel cell technology could offer the ability to capture 99% of carbon dioxide.

Image credit: Chris LeBoutillier

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