Falkirk sees drop in CO2 emissions since 2005 – but major report warns UK is lagging in fight against climate change

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Falkirk Council area has seen a drop in carbon dioxide emissions since 2005, new figures show.

The data comes as a new report heavily criticises the Government for a lack of action on climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are normally measured in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (ktCO2e).

New figures from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero show carbon dioxide emissions in Falkirk have dropped 42.5 per cent from a total of 1142 ktCO2e in 2005 – when data is first available – to 656 ktCO2e in 2021. This was the equivalent of 4.1 tonnes of CO2 emitted per person in 2021.

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These figures cover emissions "within the scope of influence" of the local authority, meaning it excludes pollution from sources such as motorways and large industrial plants.

Falkirk has seen a drop in emissions since 2005.  Picture: Getty Images.Falkirk has seen a drop in emissions since 2005.  Picture: Getty Images.
Falkirk has seen a drop in emissions since 2005. Picture: Getty Images.

Sandra Bell, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, the environmental charity, said: "There remains significant variation in how local authorities are performing on climate, and no council is getting everything right – nor will they until they are given more powers and funding from central government. National climate targets will not be met unless the government recognises the vital role that councils must play in working with communities to achieve transformative change."

Ms Bell urged for a council-led, street-by-street insulation programme to help drive emissions down.

The Government has committed to slashing emissions by 68 per cent by 2030, when compared to a 1990 baseline.

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Local authority emissions across the UK have dropped 39 per cent since 2005, including a significant fall in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. However, they saw an 8 per cent increase between 2020 and 2021 as the UK came out of lockdown and economic activity resumed.

In Falkirk, this meant a rise of 15.2 per cent from 570 ktCO2e in 2020.

A new report from the Committee for Climate Change committee – an independent advisory body – said Government action on emissions is "worrying slow".

Chris Stark, the CCC’s chief executive, said: “There are no secrets for net zero any longer, we know how to do it. Right across the board we have well-worked-through strategies for how to cut carbon emissions to zero in most areas and for those sectors that we can’t get to absolute zero, we have enough capacity in the natural world and through more engineered solutions to take carbon out of the atmosphere.

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He continued: “Those things take time. They need to put policies in place now that would steer us towards that future. That’s what we’re not seeing at the pace that’s required.”

Responding to the report, a Government spokesperson said: “The UK is cutting emissions faster than any other G7 country and attracted billions of investment into renewables, which now account for 40 per cent of our electricity.

“In the last year alone, we have confirmed the first state backing of a nuclear project in over 30 years and invested billions to kick-start new industries like carbon capture and floating offshore wind.”