• UK saved more CO2e emissions during pandemic than the previous five years combined

Air Clean Up

UK saved more CO2e emissions during pandemic than the previous five years combined

Mar 04 2022

The UK saved more CO2e* emissions over the last two years than it had done in the previous five combined, The Eco Experts has discovered.

One positive result from the pandemic has been the huge emissions savings, which saw the UK save a total of 111.85 million tonnes of CO2e - more than entire countries such as Denmark, Chile, or Bahrain would emit over two years.

The emissions saved also equates to taking 120.9 million flights from London to New York City. It would take one cow 48.6 million years to produce the equivalent volume.

This is also the same as each UK resident saving 1.7 million tonnes of CO2e over the course of the pandemic.

The pandemic saw the biggest drop in road vehicle emissions in recorded history, according to The Eco Experts.

People took 15% fewer trips by road vehicle (not including public transport) during the pandemic, which led to a reduction of 27.9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of having no vehicles on the roads for three months.

It’s not just on the roads where huge decreases have been made. The UK saved 61.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by flying less over the course of the pandemic - this includes both flights to and from the UK.

That’s 15% of the UK’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. Before the pandemic, it took the country more than four years to reduce its total emissions by that much.

The UK’s capital is also in a healthier place. London emitted 15.3 million fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide over 2020 and 2021. In 2021, when the country was starting to open up again, emission levels stayed around 21% below London’s pre-pandemic levels.

As an added bonus, London citizens were exposed to 18,020 fewer tonnes of nitrogen dioxide - a pollutant that reduces lung function.

Josh Jackman, Senior Writer for The Eco Experts, said: "This is the UK’s biggest drop in carbon emissions in recorded history. It’s truly momentous – but it shouldn’t take a pandemic for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions at the rate needed to fight climate change properly.

“On top of subsidising electric vehicle purchases and adding cycle routes, the Government needs to lower public transport fares, invest more in wind, solar and hydropower, and enforce eco-friendly standards on the biggest offending companies; without these steps, there is no net-zero.”


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