The research service of the National Assembly has recently published updated statistics on Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions.

The stats show that Wales’ emissions are (broadly speaking) decreasing, although not as quickly as required to meet the 2020 target, and on current trends – even on a linear extrapolation which is heavily influenced by good progress in the early years – the target will be missed by a sizeable margin (2,400 Mt CO2).

Greenhouse gas emissions in Wales are decreasing, but we're behind target

Greenhouse gas emissions in Wales are decreasing, but we’re behind target

The total conceals an interesting trend within the sectors which make up Wales’ economy, namely that the energy sector is the only one which has seen an increase since the ‘baseline’ of 1990.

Stacked emissions Wales

The energy sector in Wales is now responsible for 42% of our carbon emissions.

Indeed, Wales’ CO2 emissions from the energy sector are now greater than those of Scotland, despite having 58% of the Scottish population.

N Ireland Wales Scotland energy emissions

Wales: at risk of becoming the ‘dirty man’ of the UK? Image courtesy of the Climate Change Commission

RenewableUK’s Director, David Clubb, said:
“Wales’ best chance of meeting its 2020 targets lie with a rapid decarbonisation of the energy sector. Some of this will occur through the ‘natural’ loss of ageing assets, such as Aberthaw power station, but the loss of fossil fuel capacity should be compensated for by a large ramp-up in renewable energy generation. Given the recent news about the Rhiannon wind farm, large-scale onshore wind and distributed PV are the best opportunities for Wales, although marine will have a role to play over the longer term.”