Drax: “UK leads the world in global decarbonisation league”

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The UK has a world-beating record in decarbonisation, with carbon emissions here plummeting faster from their all-time high than any other major economy, new analysis by Drax Electric Insights has found.
The country’s carbon emissions have fallen by 52% since their peak in 1971, a more significant drop than any other comparable nation.
The reduction in emissions contrasts starkly with other major economies whose emissions are still rising and have yet to peak.
Countries including China, India, and Indonesia all still have rising emissions while their economies, which are powered by fossil fuels, rapidly grow.
The findings have been released ahead of the next instalment of the quarterly Drax Electric Insights report. The publication is an independent report by academics from Imperial College London commissioned by Drax through Imperial Consultants.
Drax Electric Insights sought to review the UK’s decarbonisation performance following the government announcement in February that the country was the first in the world to halve its greenhouse gas emissions. In their modelling, 1990 was used as the comparison benchmark as the Kyoto Protocol – the world’s first treaty on climate change – used this year as its benchmark year for carbon emissions reduction targets.
The academics behind the Drax Electric Insights report wanted to construct a “fairer comparison” that accounted for the fact individual countries’ carbon emissions peaked at different times. For example, emissions in the United States have not fallen at all compared to 1990, but this masks the fact they have fallen by 18% in the last 17 years following their peak in 2005.
However, even when accounting for this new benchmark year, the UK continues to lead the world in decarbonisation.
European nations fill the top seven spots of the Global Decarbonisation League Table, with France and Germany coming 2nd and 3rd behind the UK. While the UK’s emissions peaked in 1979, most countries analysed in the report had emissions peaking in the 21st century.
Drax said it has played a leading role in the UK’s decarbonisation success. Its eponymous power station in North Yorkshire was Western Europe’s largest coal-fired plant, but through converting it to use biomass, it is now the country’s single-largest renewable generator.
The company plans to go even further in the years ahead and install Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology at the plant, with an aim of capturing around 4 million tonnes of CO2 each year from 2030. BECCS is the only technology which can simultaneously generate renewable electricity while permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Miguel Veiga-Pestana, Drax’s chief sustainability officer, said: “Climate change is the greatest challenge the world faces, and while the UK has already done a great deal, we are only halfway towards reaching net zero.
“To reach that goal, we must start permanently removing carbon from the atmosphere. That is why Drax has been pioneering BECCS technology so we can remove those emissions and at the same time generate renewable electricity for millions of homes and businesses.
“We continue to work with the government to ensure BECCS at Drax Power Station can help the UK achieve its net zero targets, create thousands of jobs, and help strengthen the UK’s long-term energy security.”



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