Goods and services imported from China account for 11% of the UK’s greenhouse gas footprint ©123RF
Goods and services imported from China account for 11% of the UK’s greenhouse gas footprint ©123RF

Half UK manufacturing emissions are produced abroad

As the UK moves from a manufacturing to a service based economy, its supply chain greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly transferred abroad, a government report revealed. 

The latest figures for UK greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) showed that 55% was associated with imports, up from 47% in 2012. 

China is now the largest single producer of these exported emissions, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) report, accounting for 11% of the UK's entire GHG footprint.

The DEFRA report measures emissions from UK goods and services, regardless of where in the supply chain they are produced. However, the emissions-intensive manufacturing exported abroad is not included as part of the UK domestic emissions target. 

While the UK’s emissions figures have been declining steadily since the 90s, analysis released by DEFRA estimates consumption emissions rose by 3% between 2012 and 2013, the latest year available.

Chinese imports consumed in the UK were responsible for the equivalent of 112m tons of CO2, more than double the emissions recorded in 1997.

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