The world’s carbon emissions- how does the UK compare?

The world's carbon emissions - how does the UK compare?

The huge effect the world’s carbon emissions have on the planet is vast. Of course, we often only consider what effect our personal emissions have on the planet, as these are the emissions we can control. Businesses and residents in the UK all contribute to the emissions of the country and as the UK has now set a new carbon reduction target, it is now more important than ever for us to do our bit to help cut our country’s carbon footprint. 

However, what effect will our efforts make on the planet compared to the rest of the world’s carbon emissions?

What are the world carbon emissions?

The current statistics for the collective world’s emissions in 2020 totals to 30.6Gt of CO2. This is a drop of -2.6Gt since the previous year before the COVID-19 pandemic restricted travel, and therefore reduced the emissions emitted overall for 2020. 

Of course, we must remember that as restrictions ease, the world’s emissions will increase. As residents of different countries start to travel again and industries pick up speed once more, there is the possibility that the next few years could be costly on the planet.

Although the UK is a small country compared to the largest carbon emitters such as the US, our emissions are important. To help UK businesses consider their impact on the world’s carbon emissions, we’ve collected the data to compare our countries emissions against some of the larger carbon emitters.

The top 5 emitters

When we consider the largest emitter of carbon into our atmosphere, we would be right in putting the countries with the largest industrial economies at the top of the list. From a list of the world’s top contributing carbon emitters, China and the United States took the top spots. 

Due to their high population and industry advancements, their carbon emissions are much more significant than that of any other country. Taking up a total of 43% of the world carbon emissions collectively, the UK (along with Brazil, Australia, and other countries) only contributed to 1%.

Believe it or not, despite the UK’s small population compared to the rest of the world, we are 17th on the list of countries that emit the most carbon. This may seem low compared to China and the United States, but we must remember that this compared to the entire rest of the world, as the UK still emitted 326.1 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

What is the UK doing to reduce our emissions?

As we’ve previously mentioned, the UK Government has set emission targets in place to reduce our global contribution to climate change. To help businesses and individuals meet this ambitious target, rules have been put in place to reduce waste, and limit emissions from product production.

One way the UK Government has helped us reduce our emissions is by creating the new ‘Right to Repair’ legislation. This new law will allow users to gain the most value from their electronic devices, as manufacturers will now have to ensure that any newly created devices are repairable. Not only will this help individuals gain the most use from their devices, but it will also allow businesses to reduce their electronic waste by making assets easier to recycle and reuse, helping them comply with the UK’s WEEE compliance regulations.

By creating repairable devices, UK residents can prolong the use of their assets and reduce the electronic waste generated from redundant devices. This, in turn, helps reduce the carbon emissions generated in the creation of a brand-new product. Coupled with sustainable WEEE recycling, businesses and individuals can significantly reduce the carbon emissions caused by electronics and help reduce the UK’s contribution to the world’s carbon emissions.

How your business could help

To do your bit to reduce the UK carbon emissions, find out how to reduce your business’ emissions with our free eBook: How to reduce your business carbon footprint.

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