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Household transport emissions fell by a QUARTER in 2020

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Household transport emissions fell by a QUARTER in 2020 – the largest drop ever recorded – as commuters left the office to work from home amid the coronavirus crisis

  • Household transport emissions fell by 24 percent in 2020 amid Covid crisis
  • Household emissions fell from 68 million tons to 52 million tons
  • That is the biggest drop in transport emissions since at least 1990
  • Total household emissions fell from 148 million tons to 133 million last year
  • Huge reduction was caused by a pandemic increase in working from home










Household transport emissions fell by almost a quarter in 2020 as commuters left the office to work from home during the corona crisis.

Emissions from personal travel fell from 68 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2019 to 52 million tons last year – a 24 percent reduction.

The Office for National Statistics said this is “by far the biggest drop” on record since it began tracking household emissions in 1990.

Total emissions from households, including personal transport and heating, fell from 148 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019 to 133 million tonnes in 2020, while total emissions in the UK fell from 552 million tonnes to 481 million tonnes.

The numbers point to the significant environmental impact of the pandemic.

Household transport emissions fell by almost a quarter in 2020 as commuters left the office to work from home during the corona crisis

The 10 percent decrease in household emissions is the second largest reduction since 1990.

Only 2011 saw a larger drop of 12 percent, which was attributed to it being one of the warmest years on record.

The 15 million tonnes reduction in household emissions is broadly equivalent to one and a quarter years of pre-pandemic coal use in the UK.

The CO2 equivalent is a measure of the ‘combined global warming potential of various greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide’.

The ONS said more working from home in 2020 resulted in a slight increase in heating emissions, but the extra emissions’were more than offset by the decrease in travel emissions’.

“Between 2019 and 2020, household emissions not related to travel, which are mainly heat emissions, increased by 1.5 percent from 80 million tons of CO2, equivalent to 81 million tons,” the ONS said.

The UK’s industrial emissions have fallen in recent years and households have been the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases since 2015.

Emissions from personal travel fell from 68 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2019 to 52 million tons last year - a 24 percent reduction

Emissions from personal travel fell from 68 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2019 to 52 million tons last year – a 24 percent reduction

The US said: ‘Both the energy and manufacturing sectors have significantly reduced emissions over the past decade, while household emissions have remained relatively high.

“This has increased interest in reducing household emissions to help reduce total emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050.”

The ONS figures suggest that the reduction in travel had a significant impact on air quality.

Air pollution from particulate matter has ‘reduced significantly’ in 2020, with the prevalence of particles below 2.5 micrometres, which pose a serious risk to human health, falling by six per cent in the UK.

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