Carbon emissions across the UK have fallen by an estimated 10.3% so far this year, according to a report by the offshore oil and gas industry body.
Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) has urged governments to act quickly with the figure – along with an estimate the economy contracted by 11.3% – highlighting the challenge in securing a green recovery.
While global energy demand is expected to decrease by 5% in 2020, the report suggests global emissions also fell by 5.5%.
A 12% reduction was also reported in total energy demand across the UK in the first three quarters of the year.
OGUK chief executive Deirdre Michie said: “Today’s report highlights that we have a unique opportunity for the transition towards a lower-carbon future to be homegrown in this country and potentially exported across the world.
“2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for the oil and gas supply chain as it faced both the well-documented impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent decline in demand for energy.
“Utilising the expert technical knowledge that exists within the substantial UK oil and gas supply chain is fundamental if we are to evolve toward a lower-carbon future.”
The report also indicates 85% of OGUK members expect to increase diversification into non-oil and gas activities during the next 12-24 months due to the current market conditions.
Currently the UK Government has a net-zero carbon emissions target of 2050, while the Scottish Government plans to cut all greenhouse gases to this rate by 2045.
Ms Michie added: “Our Economic Report 2020 shows that oil and gas produced in the UK will continue to support energy security in the decades to come, but as part of a changing and cleaner energy mix.
“With the right support, this industry can truly come of age and continue to make a positive contribution in this new energy landscape.
“However, our report makes clear that reaching this positive future will require working in the here and now to protect the jobs and companies needed to bring our climate ambitions to life.
“OGUK continue to work closely with the UK Government on proposals for a transformational North Sea Transition Deal, which will help unlock the full contribution the industry can make to achieving net-zero and the wider economic benefits.”