Island ‘heading in the right direction’ on emissions levels
GUERNSEY’S emissions have gone up after two years of Covid, but are still lower than before the pandemic, the latest indications have shown.
Transport continues to be the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Guernsey, although the most recent figures show only a small rise in emission totals between 2020 and 2021.
The 2021 annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports that the emissions of ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ rose by 0.2% from 292.5 kilotonnes in 2020 to 293.2kt in 2021.
However, those were both classed as Covid-impacted years and estimates for 2022’s emissions suggest they will be around 336kt.
Environment & Infrastructure president Lindsay de Sausmarez said that even at this level, emissions would still be lower than the previous record low of 351.9kt in 2017.
Guernsey signed up to the Kyoto Protocol and UN Convention on Climate Change in 2002 and agreed to reduce its emissions to 57% of 1990’s level by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050. Overall, 2021 saw a decrease of 48.3% compared to the levels in 1990.
‘There’s no doubt that it’s going to be hard work to meet those targets,’ said Deputy de Sausmarez.
‘But what we absolutely cannot afford to do is to leave it until nearer 2050.’
Emissions for 2020 and 2021 are an anomaly due to the unprecedented reduction in vehicle use during the lockdowns.
‘However, with the provisional estimate for 2022 below pre-Covid levels, the data suggests we are heading in the right direction,’ she said.
The majority of the island’s emissions in 2021 were CO2, which comes from transport, power generation and heating,
Transport alone was responsible for 30.4% of all the emissions.
Commercial and industrial combustion contributed just over one quarter – 26.6% – while landfilled waste contributed 12.1%, mostly in the form of methane gas.
‘There is clearly still plenty to do to reach our interim target and transport is a key area of focus,’ said Deputy de Sausmarez.
While gradual reductions had been made year-on-year, more could be done, she said. ‘Further reductions can come from making low-energy and energy-efficient forms of transport more viable options for more people.’
E&I is due to publish its electricity strategy in the next few months and she said it was hoped to have it debated before the summer recess.
‘Our electricity is already very significantly low emission and we’ve done some good work on that front, but we’re looking to reduce emissions from the energy sector more generally.’
Due to the fact that most of the island’s electricity is imported from France, emissions from power generation fell by about 89% between 1990 and 2021.
n The bulletin is available at gov.gg/ghg.