J1: Carbon footprint and consumer buying choices

Short Description

This indicator tracks the carbon footprint of England’s residents, by showing changes in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with final demand for goods and services in England. Unlike indicator A2 which measures emissions on a territorial basis, this indicator includes GHG emissions embedded within goods and services consumed in England wherever these emissions arise across the globe. The indicator will show how consumer preferences and behaviour are impacting on the overall national carbon footprint.

Readiness and links to data

This indicator is not available for reporting in 2023 in a finalised form. An interim indicator is presented here that shows consumption-based GHG emissions in England. Data underpinning this metric, as well as methodology and accompanying data are available in the UK and England's carbon footprint statistical notice.

This interim indicator, together with additional supporting methodology is also included within the Resources and waste strategy for England. Further data may be available in the future tracking an index of carbon emissions impacts due to consumer buying choices.

Indicator components

Figure J1: Consumption based greenhouse gas emissions in England, 2001 to 2019

Table J1: Consumption based greenhouse gas emissions in England, 2001 to 2019

Year Direct household emissions of ghgs Ghg embedded in imported goods and services to england Ghg from england produced goods and services consumed by england's residents
2001 138 412 349
2002 137 427 336
2003 137 414 349
2004 139 456 348
2005 136 451 349
2006 133 458 339
2007 130 461 333
2008 130 399 318
2009 128 345 290
2010 136 343 297
2011 119 352 280
2012 126 358 289
2013 128 361 277
2014 117 373 267
2015 121 368 259
2016 123 313 245
2017 122 304 226
2018 125 315 224
2019 124 312 218

Trend description for J1

England’s carbon footprint (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides) was estimated to be equivalent to 654 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) in 2019, a 27% reduction on levels in 2001 (899 MtCO2e). GHGs emitted directly by households (making up 19% of the footprint in 2019) were 10% lower in 2019 than in 2001 as a result of reductions in emissions associated with household-related heating. Total consumption-based emissions have been on a downward trajectory since 2004: the greatest contribution to this trend has come from the goods and services produced in England and consumed here; but emissions embedded in imports have also reduced substantially (37% and 32% respectively from the 2004 peak). As a proportion of total emissions in 2019, GHGs emitted overseas in the production of goods and services consumed in England made up 48% of the total footprint.

Assessment of change

The interim indicator for J1 ‘Consumption based greenhouse gas emissions in England’ was assessed. This showed an improvement in the short term, and over the medium and long-term time periods. This assessment does not consider whether any improvement is on a sufficient scale for meeting targets.

Change since 2018 has also been assessed, showing little or no change. However, this is based on only 2 data points so should be considered as indicative and not evidence of a clear trend.

Further information on this assessment, along with details on the methodology, is provided in the Assessment background page. Summaries by 25 Year Environment Plan goal and information on indicator links are presented in the Assessment results pages.

Table J1: Assessment of change

Component Subcomponent Period Date range Percentage change Smoothing function Assessment of change
J1 Total Short term 2013 to 2018 -12.35 Loess Improvement
J1 Total Medium term 2008 to 2018 -21.96 Loess Improvement
J1 Total Long term 2001 to 2018 -25.51 Loess Improvement

Note that assessment categories were assigned based on smoothed data, so percent change figures in Table J1 may differ from unsmoothed values quoted elsewhere. Percent change refers to the difference seen between the first and last years in the specified date range.

Indicator Metadata