“Electricity represents less than a fifth of all the energy we use. But making it produces more than a third of the UK's total carbon dioxide emissions." Friends of the Earth
The vast majority of our electricity (over 70%) is generated by burning coal, gas and oil in power stations. This releases millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide - the main gas responsible for climate change.
A further 15% of our electricity comes from nuclear power which produces thousands of tonnes of hazardous radioactive waste which remains dangerous for up to a million years.
The alternative: green electricity
Although we can all cut down on the amount of energy we use the only real alternative is to buy ‘green electricity’.
This usually refers to electricity produced from sources which do not have seriously adverse effects on the environment - such as wind, wave, tidal and solar power.
Generating from these sources does not involve any burning and so does not release carbon dioxide. These are also called renewable energy sources because unlike gas and oil they will never run out.
To meet EU targets the UK needs to produce at least 40% of our electricity from renewable sources - at present only around 9% is produced from renewables.
Switch to Good Energy
Because producing electricity is the single biggest contributor to climate change, switching to green energy is one of the simplest ways of reducing our environmental impact.
Updated 23 Feb 2017