UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


New study shows 24 countries sustained national greenhouse emissions reductions

13 December 2021

A new paper published in Climate Policy Journal by Prof Michael Grubb from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources with Mercator Research Institute Germany shows that 24 countries have sustained reductions in both CO2 and overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Power plant smoke

22 of the countries with sustained emissions reductions are European, ranging from Scandinavia to Western Europe. Alongside these, Jamaica and the United States also sustained reductions; sustained reductions are classed as reductions in annual CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions between 1970 and 2018.

The findings are also robust for the ‘carbon footprint’ of these countries, ie. Taking account of trade effects – the reductions are real, and not attributed to outsourcing, for example through off-shore manufacturing industry.

The paper shows that most emissions reductions were achieved primarily in the energy sector, while transport emissions have mostly continued to grow.

Professor of Energy and Climate Change Michael Grubb said

Even a decade ago, many people thought that economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions were almost inseparable. These countries have shown this is false. Strong policies, mostly set in the context of legally binding emission targets, have delivered nationally sizeable emission reductions alongside healthy economic performance. Such efforts now need to be strengthened and expanded across sectors and many more countries.”

Further information

Photo by Mick Truyts on Unsplash