CO2 Producing Cities - Utility Bidder

CO2 ProducingUK Cities

Which UK cities have the biggest carbon footprint?

With growing concern around the effects of climate change, it is now more important than ever for people to consider adopting a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

In the UK, carbon makes up an overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emissions, and have been made to reduce this harmful carbon footprint. From low-carbon travel initiatives to business energy suppliers offering renewable power alternatives, there are now more opportunities than ever to do your bit for the environment - but who is taking action?

Our team was curious about which areas of the UK are currently the most eco-conscious, and who is guilty of producing the most CO2. Using a combination of government data and search result information, we have put together a collection of lists denoting the current state of carbon emissions in the UK.

The Top UK Cities With The Highest CO2 Emissions

To find out which UK cities have been producing the most CO2 we looked at the estimated carbon emissions in 2019 and 2020 for each city. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown restrictions led to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. To account for this, we have taken an average of the 2019 and 2020 totals.

1. London

29,983

Emission Total (kt CO2)

Full of historic attractions and lavished skyscrapers, London is a beauty to behold. Despite their efforts to be environmentally friendly, they have ranked first in this list. As this city is the largest in the UK by population, it is no surprise that they tower above every other area with a total of 29,983 kilotons of CO2 emissions.

2. Birmingham

3,940

Emission Total (kt CO2)

As well as being the host of various popular events every year, Birmingham also has a large population which makes it a hotspot for travel and food - two big contributors of carbon emissions. The local council has made plans to drastically reduce their carbon footprint in the next few years, but for now, they have the second highest total CO2 emissions of any UK city.

3. Leeds

3,680

Emission Total (kt CO2)

Leeds completes this top three list with an average CO2 emission total of 3680.9 kilotons. Similarly to Birmingham, this city welcomes a lot of visitors which they have to cater for, however, compared to other busy cities in the UK, Leeds has limited options in terms of transport systems. This increases the use of cars in the area which have been found to produce large amounts of CO2.

UK Cities With The Highest CO2 Emissions

Rank

City

Average 2019-20 Total CO2 Emissions

UK Cities With The Highest CO2 Emissions By Population

It is no surprise that the UK cities with larger populations are the ones producing more CO2, but how much does population affect the ranking? As well as looking at which cities have the highest overall CO2 emissions, we have also normalised the CO2 emissions for each city against the respective population.

1. Newport

63.57

CO2 emissions per 10,000 residents

The Welsh city of Newport takes the top spot in this list with a total CO2 emission of 63.57 per 10,000 residents. Seeing as though the main attraction for this city is their natural geology, it seems quite ironic that they are featured on this list!

2. Wrexham

60.20

CO2 emissions per 10,000 residents

The city of Wrexham is full of history - from its Tudor buildings, to being the home of Wrexham A.F.C (one of the oldest professional football teams in the world). Whilst some areas of this city have made efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, their second-place appearance on this list suggests that other residents are yet to modernise their stance on climate change.

3. Doncaster

59.67

CO2 emissions per 10,000 residents

Despite having the largest average CO2 emission of any city in this top three, Doncaster comes in third place when the factor of population is taken into account. If you are a fan of horse racing then it is likely that you are familiar with this city! With their famous racecourse attracting millions of visitors over the years, it is no surprise that they feature in the list of UK cities with the highest CO2 emissions per 10,000 residents.

UK Cities With The Highest CO2 Emissions By Population

Rank

City

Average 2019-20 Total CO2 Emissions

CO2 Emissions Per 10,000 Residents

CO2 Production by Sector

With constant shifts in fuel costs and business gas prices, we were interested to see which CO2 producing sectors were contributing the most to carbon emissions in the UK. We looked at the total CO2 emissions in 2021, which was measured as million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (MtCO2e).

1. Transport

107.5 MtCO2e

Of the total carbon emissions for transport, a large portion of this is accounted for by road travel such as cars and buses. Since the new millennium, a series of low emission zones have been introduced in some of the busiest UK cities as a way of tackling air pollution. As well as this, an abundance of cycle to work schemes have ...

2. Energy Supply

80.7 MtCO2e

The second largest contributor of CO2 emissions in the UK is the sector of energy supply - with a total production of 80.7 MtCO2e in 2021. Made up of elements including power stations and refineries, this sector is an important aspect of UK society. The CO2 emissions for the energy supply sector have been reduced by 66.43% ...

3. Residential

68.1 MtCO2e

Many people have taken steps to reduce their personal carbon emissions, evidenced by the 21.63% decrease in this sector in the last 30 years, however, there is still room for improvement. The residential sector includes things such as heating appliances in which the chemical reaction produces CO2. Ranking just above the ...

CO2 Production by Sector

Rank

Sector

% Decrease between 1991 and 2021

CO2 Emissions 2021 (MtCO2e)

The Most Eco-Conscious UK Cities

As well as looking at the current state of carbon emissions in the UK, we also wanted to see which city’s residents were the most curious about all things eco! To do this we looked at data from the last year to see how much each city uses Google to search for questions such as ‘how to reduce air pollution?’ and ‘how can I make my home more energy efficient?’.

1. Swansea

617

Searches per 100,000 Residents

Taking the top spot as the most eco-conscious area in the UK is Swansea. With a large percentage of their population being of a younger demographic, it appears that the residents here have taken notice of the recent appeals surrounding climate change and are keen to find out how they can help make their planet more sustainable.

2. Wrexham

402

Searches per 100,000 Residents

The second largest contributor of CO2 emissions in the UK is the sector of energy supply - with a total production of 80.7 MtCO2e in 2021. Made up of elements including power stations and refineries, this sector is an important aspect of UK society. The CO2 emissions for the energy supply sector have been reduced by 66.43% ...

3. Milton Keynes

377

Searches per 100,000 Residents

Completing this top three list is Milton Keynes with 377 searches per 100,000 residents. This city hit the headlines earlier this year regarding a large oil leak in the River Ouzel (which flows through Milton Keynes). News like this may have sparked the interest of residents here and inspired them to think about being more eco-conscious.

The Most Eco-Conscious UK Cities

Rank

City

Annual Searches

Searches Per 100,000 Residents

Methodology

We removed any UK cities for which we could not find all of the data. As a result, we used a total of 56 cities within our rankings.

We used GOV.UK data to find estimates for the total CO2 emissions for each city in 2019 and 2020. We then added these two totals together before dividing this number by two to find the average CO2 emissions for each city between 2019- 2020.

We used government data denoting the estimated CO2 emissions from 1991 and 2021 for the following sectors: transport, energy supply, residential, business, industrial processes, public, agricultural, waste management, land use, land change and forestry. We subtracted the 2021 total for each sector from the 1991 total before dividing this by the 1991 total and finally multiplied this by 100 to calculate the percentage change of CO2 emissions between these dates.

We used the Keywords Explorer feature on AhRefs to collect a range of eco-conscious based questions. We then used Google Keyword Planner to add up the total number of eco-conscious question searches for each city between Nov 2021- Oct 2022 as well as the population for each city. By dividing the total number of searches by the population for each city and multiplying this number by 100,000, we were able to calculate the number of searches per 100,000 residents.

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