Plenty of CO2 emissions in the UK 

Author: David Bamford

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We are hearing quite a lot nowadays about the significant amounts of CO2 that it’s planned will be tackled by Carbon Capture & Storage – around 10 million tonnes per year per project seems like a common number.

I found myself asking “OK, what is the estimated total of U.K. CO2 emissions per year?” And being somewhat sceptical about any emissions number published by the U.K. government, I turned to the annual compilations by Climate Trace who seem to make it their business to turn up at the COP events and show their latest compilation.


The global picture

Let’s begin with the whole planet, the relevant image for 2022 is shown below; as you’ll see this records a grand total of 43.6 billion tonnes from 390,075 of the largest emitting sources worldwide (obviously they can’t do anything about facilities that don’t report). The colour code is Yellow for Transportation, Red for Oil & Gas, Green for Power Generation, Purple for Manufacturing to highlight the most prevalent ones.

The largest emitting sources worldwide 2022
Zooming in on the UK

The next image focuses on the U.K., demonstrating for 2022 total CO2 emissions of 412 million tonnes from 4549 individual sources:

The UK emissions 2022
Digging deeper: key emission sectors

Finally, we can strip Transportation out of the U.K. image and just look at Refining (Red), Power (Green) and Manufacturing (Purple).

To illustrate the care that you need to take with any such emissions numbers, one of these individual sources is the wood chip burning Drax power station which is reported as emitting 3.3 million tonnes in 2022 whereas the press believes the number is 13 million tonnes.

“ Drax remains the UK’s largest single source of CO2 emissions at more than 13 million tonnes a year.”

…………… several lengths of the swimming pool!

The UK emissions 2022 for Refining (Red), Power (Green) and Manufacturing (Purple)

However, what you can see in this image are the half dozen Industrial ‘clusters’ of the UK – around Edinburgh, Humberside, maybe Teeside, HyNet around Liverpool, South Wales, the Solent.

It’s curious that the total CO2 emissions number from the 3 sectors (Manufacturing, Power, Refining) add up to 132 million tonnes for 2022.

This number might give some pause for thought as, as yet there are no commercial applications of CCUS in the UK, but the Government has a target to capture and store 20–30 MtCO2 (including removals) per year by 2030.


From the early concept stages of a project, through to operations, Future Energy Partners provide expert support for those developing CCS projects. With deep knowledge of the technology and commercial models for a viable programme, we will provide you with consultancy that aligns with the latest regulations and policy. To find our how we can help, contact us today.

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