The UK will produce less greenhouse gas during the periods for its fourth and fifth carbon budgets than previously estimated, according to updated official figures.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) now expects that 2,014 megatonnes of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere between 2023 and 2027, the period covered by the fourth carbon budget.

The figure is 54 megatonnes lower than last year’s estimate.

Yet, even after the reduction, the total still exceeds the 1,950-megatonne budget by more than 3%.

Bigger miss for fifth budget

During the fifth carbon budget, covering 2028 to 2032, emissions are expected to total 1,841 megatonnes, 51 megatonnes below previous estimates but still almost 7% higher than the 1,725-megatonne budget.

BEIS defended the figures in the report, saying: “The UK has been among the most successful countries in the developed world in growing our economy while reducing emissions, and the recently published Clean Growth Strategy sets out ambitious policies and proposals to meet our carbon reduction targets while seizing the opportunities of clean growth.

“BEIS’s current estimated projection for the fourth and fifth carbon budgets suggests that we could deliver 97% and 95% of our required performance against 1990 levels – for carbon budgets that will end in 10 and 15 years’ time respectively.”

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