Visualising The UK’s Carbon Footprint

With the world as we know it currently at a standstill due to COVID-19, CO2 emissions have fallen. The decline looks to be temporary though and experts have warned that carbon emissions will soon be on the rise again. 

While China was on lockdown, there was an estimated 25% drop in CO2 emissions between February and March. But by the end of March when the country slowly started to restart its economy and workers returned to factories, energy usage, air pollution levels and carbon emissions started to increase. 

Across Europe with many countries still under lockdown, power consumption and transit-related emissions seem to be on the decline with many people being ordered to work from home and non-essential industries unable to operate. Here in the UK, natural gas emissions have also dropped. 

Although it’s evident that this pandemic has had an impact on carbon emissions, governments, industries and businesses still need to do more and begin the move to cleaner energy in order to reduce emissions significantly. 

To demonstrate the effect that carbon emissions have on the environment, Utility Bidder have launched a campaign that looks at the daily carbon emissions generated from 6 major cities across the UK. The amount of CO2 each city produced was visualised in the form of a cube and then compared to the height of a local landmark.


London averaged 81,394 tonnes of carbon emissions daily. This was enough to create a cube of emissions 44 metres taller and 304 metres wider than The Shard – the biggest building in the UK. It’s no surprise that out of the six cities, London’s carbon emissions were the highest. 

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Brighton is known for being an eco-friendly, green city, producing on average 2,466 tonnes of carbon emissions, around 32 times lower than the capital. This is the only city out of all six where the cube was smaller (standing at 110 metres) than the landmark, 52 metres shorter than the i360 seafront observation tower. 


The second biggest city in the UK averaged around 11,557 tonnes of CO2, which is significantly lower than London. This was enough to create a virtual cube 184 metres high, which stands 32 metres taller than Birmingham’s BT Tower. 


On average, the largest Scottish city produced 7,175 tonnes of CO2 daily. This was a much lower number in comparison to smaller cities in England, although it was still high enough to make up a virtual cube taller than Glasgow Tower, Scotland’s tallest building, by 30 metres. 


The amount of CO2 produced on average in Leeds was 10,862 tonnes, which is enough to make Leeds Town Hall look minuscule next to the emissions cube. Standing at 181 metres, the virtual cube would tower over the Town Hall by 112 metres. 


Belfast was found to have the second lowest emissions out of the six cities, with its average daily CO2 producing 4,198 tonnes. But when this was compared to the Titanic Belfast landmark, the CO2 would fill a 132 metre tall cube and the true scale is shown. 

Quite often it can be hard to realise the full extent of the damage caused to the environment by carbon emissions, but hopefully by demonstrating it in this format will remind businesses to be more aware of how their energy usage contributes to the increasing numbers of carbon emissions.

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