Office for National Statistics

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Climate Change
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Drivers

A large majority of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced as a result of energy consumption. Primary energy demand is the energy the UK needs for consumption and things like operating oil refineries and power stations, this has fallen since 2000.

The UK’s energy mix has shifted away from coal. This met 16% of demand and renewables 1% in 2000. By 2020 coal was meeting 3% and renewable energy 16%, mainly from bioenergy and wind. Fossil fuels remain important, including oil for transport and gas for energy generation and heating.

Source: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

  1. These estimates have not been adjusted for temperature or seasonal factors. Estimates adjusted for these are available within the source indicated.

  2. Net imports may include imports from all fuel types.

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions seen from 1990 to 2020 were driven largely by a switch from using coal and heavy-emitting fuels in the energy supply and manufacturing industries to lower emission fuels such as natural gas and, more recently, renewable sources. From 1990 to 2019, fossil fuel use fell in the energy supply industries by 57% and in the manufacturing industries by 44%. By contrast fossil fuel use by households fell by around 3%, while its use in transport and storage increased by 20%.

Source: Office for National Statistics

  1. Industry aggregations are based on the UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2007. Households include “consumer expenditure” and “activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods and services – producing activities of households for own use” (for example, employing a cleaner and growing vegetables for your own consumption). The electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector is referred to as the energy supply sector.

  2. Energy use is considered in this chart on a residence basis not a territorial basis (BEIS: Digest of UK Energy Statistics). For more information see bridging tables which explain the differences between such estimates.

  3. Fossil fuels here refers to: coal, natural gas, petrol, DERV, Fuel oil, Gas oil, Aviation turbine fuel, Aviation spirit, Anthracite, Blast furnace gas, Burning oil, Coke, Coke oven gas, Colliery methane, LPG, Lubricants, Naphtha, OPG, Orimulsion, Peat, Petroleum coke, Refinery miscellaneous, Sour gas, SSF, Waste oils and Waste solvent.

Energy intensity is a measure of how much activity is achieved with a given amount of energy, so is an indicator of efficiency.

Since 2000, there have been efficiency improvements in road passenger transport with the energy required per passenger kilometre falling 7.6% between 2000 and 2018, reflecting better fuel economy of cars. Household and service efficiency has also improved over the last twenty years driven by increasingly efficiency space heating (for example, new combi boilers are significantly more efficient than older ones), greater insulation in homes and businesses, and a wholesale change in lighting efficiencies.

Source: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

  1. Please refer to Energy Consumption in the UK (ECUK) for more information on energy intensity calculations.