The UK and Germany like to think of themselves
as climate leaders. But how does their progress in cutting carbon
stack up against the US, which has famously failed to pass climate
Over the past two weeks the results came in,
with each country publishing carbon dioxide emissions figures for
2014. Carbon Brief slices up the data to find out who's winning the
In the UK, government ministers
like to boast about the nation's progress.
Carbon emissions were
down 9.7% in 2014, a record fall for a
growing UK economy. The UK must be doing something right because
other countries are
modelling their efforts on the UK's legally
Climate Change Act, which the UK's three
main political leaders recently
promised to uphold.
The US, by contrast, has tried and
failed many times to pass climate
legislation. That's why the Obama administration
is trying to use and extend existing laws to force through
emissions-cutting regulation. Despite this
modest record on climate rules, it's common to hear it claimed that
the US is
leading the way on cutting emissions
because of shale gas.
Germany's Energiewende, its generational
push away from nuclear towards an energy-efficient and largely
renewable economy, is frequently either
derided in UK media as an example of how (or
how not) to decarbonise.
Germany all published official carbon dioxide emissions
estimates for 2014 at the end of March.
Carbon Brief already took a
detailed look at the UK data, which showed a
9.7% drop in carbon emissions compared to 2013. The US data shows
2014 carbon emissions increased by 1% compared to a year earlier,
while Germany's fell by 4.8%.