UK Carbon Dioxide emissions

A Guardian article (Guardian newspaper, 16 May 06) supplied interesting data on carbon dioxide emissions. The following figures are in millions of tonnes for 2005:

26.4 EON UK (company which owns Powergen)
20.8 Drax power station, North Yorkshire

The biggest emitters of greenhouse gases were cited as EON, Drax, RWE NPower, Corus and EDF, which collectively produced about 100 million tonnes.

For comparison: 91.0 million tonnes were produced by the UK's private cars.

This set me thinking about doing some calculations......

In Leicester city, there are about 110,000 households. I looked at the gas bills of a few friends, and on average, each household used 795 cubic metres of natural gas per quarter, equivalent to 530 kilograms.

Taking this average gives a gas consumption for the city of 50,000 tonnes/qr, or 200,000 tonnes annually.

Leicester city has about 300,000 inhabitants in 100,000 households. The country's population is about 60,000,000.

60,000,000 / 300,000 is 600/3, or 200

So the gas consumption for the whole country's domestic dwellings would be around 200 x 200,000 tonnes

which comes to 40 million tonnes

or about two thirds of a tonne per person, assuming everyone's on gas.

Now - if you burn a tonne of methane you get just under 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

So each person's two-thirds of a tonne of gas produces about 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Industry and commerce use as much again - in fact, a bit more.

Each person in the UK is therefore responsible for the release of around 4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

So we can update our table: Carbon Dioxide production per year:
26 million tonnes - EON UK
20 million tonnes - Drax

EON, Drax, RWE NPower, Corus and EDF - collectively 100 million tonnes.

For comparison:
91 million tonnes were produced by the UK's private cars.
40 million tonnes came from gas use in private dwellings#.
45 milliion tonnes from gas use by commerce and industry#.

N.D./Habitat 21 website

#footnote - none of my "gas use" figures came from single-occupant households, so my average is probably a bit high. The official figure is about 3t per person, or 4t including other greenhouse gases.

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