Latest official data for 2020 has revealed the fall in emissions, which was largely due to the electricity cable link with France coming back on stream.
Environmental campaigner Rob Gregson said the drop in emissions during 2020 was good news, with the electricity link with France having a key role in reducing Guernsey’s carbon footprint.
‘I suspect that would be a real drop in carbon emissions actually, including our external emissions,’ he said.
‘That is good news. Repairing the cable is good for our carbon footprint. Maintaining this link to France is really good for our emissions and highlights the ongoing need for connection to France.’
The figures in the Guernsey Annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, published by the States, also showed the main area the island can improve on emissions is transport, which, with the cable link fixed, returned to being the major source of CO2 in the environment. It was dominated by emissions on the roads, as airline travel dropped significantly during a Covid year.
Guernsey’s total emissions totalled 290.3 kilotons of CO2 equivalent in 2020, which equated to 4.6 tonnes per capita – 34.5% lower than in 2019 and 47.9% lower than in 1990.
The bulletin said faults in the electricity cable between Guernsey, Jersey and France were experienced in 2018 and 2019, resulting in more electricity being generated on-island using heavy fuel oil. The cable has been in operation since 2001, and has been the major source of reduction of the island’s carbon emissions since then.
The decline in carbon emissions caused through power generation was so marked that transport emissions again became the island’s leading source of pollution, despite a significant slowdown from the Covid lockdown. It was responsible for 28.8% of total emissions.
Transport emissions fell between 1990 and 2020 by 44.4% – 66.8kt of CO2 equivalent – and between 2019 and 2020 by 25.2% to 83.7kt of CO2 equivalent.
‘The air and sea travel restrictions in place throughout most of 2020 to reduce spread of Covid had a significant effect on the number of flights and ferry voyages,’ said the report. ‘There were also decreases in the amounts of petrol and diesel used for road transport and the number of bus journeys taken on-island.’
The report said 77% of transport emissions resulted from on-island road transport in 2020, with a further 10% from aviation – down from 23% in 2019 – and 10% from navigation.