UK: Estimating greenhouse gas emissions

In the United Kingdom there are three different approaches to estimate greenhouse gas emissions and the UK government publishes figures based on each approach. The three approaches are:

  • Emissions based on the UK greenhouse gas inventory, published by DECC. The inventory measures emissions on a “territorial” basis, so only includes emissions which occur within the UK’s borders.
  • Emissions as measured by the UK Environmental Accounts, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). These measure emissions on a “residents” basis, whereby the estimates represent emissions caused by UK residents and industry whether in the UK or abroad, but exclude emissions within the UK which can be attributed to overseas residents and businesses.
  • Embedded emissions, published by Defra. These measure emissions on a “consumption” basis, and take account of the emissions embedded within the manufactured goods and services which the UK imports and exports.


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