The UK was among 21 countries that cut their carbon dioxide emissions while still growing their economies between 2000 and 2014, according to analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The Washington-based policy research organisation said Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 27% during the period, while its emissions dropped by 20%.

Denmark recorded the largest fall in emissions, down 30%, while its GDP grew by 8%.

Slovakia chalked up the largest rise in GDP, up 75%, while its emissions fell by 22%.

‘Complex’ debates

Nate Aden, a Research Fellow at the WRI, said: “The debates on growth and resources are complex, fractious and centuries old, and while they won’t be resolved in the immediate future, recent developments show that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stayed flat in 2014 and 2015 while GDP continued to grow.

“This emerging trend is supported by 21 countries that have managed to reduce GHG emissions while growing GDP.

“The UK is an example of a country where economic growth and CO2 emissions have increasingly diverged.  Between 2000 and 2014, the UK achieved six years of absolute decoupling where real GDP grew at the same time that carbon dioxide emissions declined.”

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