29 June 2023

Northern Ireland had highest emissions per person in 2021, figures show

29 June 2023

Northern Ireland had the highest per capita emissions in the UK in 2021, mainly due to agriculture, new Government figures show.

The country emitted 10.6 tCO2e per person, with land use change also a big contributor, as it was in Scotland, which had higher emissions than the UK average in almost every sector, totalling 7.4 tCO2e per person.

In Northern Ireland, agriculture was responsible for 3.2 tCO2e per person and in Scotland this figure was 1.5 tCO2e.

Wales was the second largest per capita emitter, with 9.4 tCO2e per person, mainly because of its industry, which produced 3.6 tCO2e per person.

London had the lowest per capita emissions, at 3.4 tCO2e per person, than any other region in 2021 because of its high population density, urban transport system and lack of industry and agriculture.

Yorkshire and the East Midlands produced the highest per capita emissions in England, at 7.1 and 6.9 tCO2e per person respectively.

The Department for Net Zero and Energy Security, which published the figures, said measuring emissions on a per capita basis allows for comparison between areas with different sizes of population, but stressed that emissions are driven by many other factors besides how many people there are.

All regions saw an increase in emissions from the year before as the country reopened after the pandemic lockdowns of 2020.

Overall, there has been a gradual decline in emissions in all areas since 2005, with the North East of England experiencing the most dramatic fall – 63% – mainly because of industrial closures.

Northern Ireland has seen a drop in emissions of 23% since 2005, while those for the UK as a whole fell by 39%.

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