You have to go back to 1890 to find a time when the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions were as low as they are today

  • CarbonBrief analysis shows that the UK’s coal use declined 19% last year.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions are now 38% below 1990 levels, according to the report, and as low as levels last seen in 1890.

The UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions are now as low as they were in 1890, according to a study reported by the FT.

The more than 100-year low has been driven by the rapidly declining use of coal power in the UK. Total CO2 emissions fell 2.6% in 2017, as coal use fell by 19%. The year before, emissions declined 5.8% after coal use plummeted by 52%, according to the CarbonBrief report.

The UK now emits 38% less carbon dioxide than it did in 1990 and emissions have been falling every year since 2012, according to the report.

“Coal use in the UK had been mostly steady from the late 1990s until 2014 with declines in gas and oil use driving most emissions reductions,” the report said. “However, coal use fell precipitously between 2014 and 2017, declining by nearly 75% compared to 2013 values. Coal’s fall in recent years is responsible for the bulk of CO2 reductions in the UK over the past decade.”

Outside of miner strikes in the early 20th century, the UK’s CO2 emissions are at the lowest levels since the Picture of Dorian Grey was published in 1890. Here’s the chart:

Carbon chart