Britain's greenhouse gas emissions fell two percent in 2008, firmly putting the country on course to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the government's environment agency said Wednesday. Provisional statistics published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed that total greenhouse gas emissions dropped to 623.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent last year, down from 636.6 million metric tons in 2007.

Net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for 2008, which take into account CO2 removals from carbon sinks, such as forests, also fell two percent to 531.8 million metric tons from 542.6 million.

The decrease resulted from fuel switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, combined with lower fossil fuel consumption by industry and in road transportation, DECC said in a statement.

Under the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol, the UK has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 percent by 2008-2012.

The provisional figures for 2008 put the UK some 19.5 percent below 1990 levels. Final figures for last year are to be published in early 2010.

DECC also published a breakdown of 2007 figures by end-user, showing that British businesses accounted for 32 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Transport emitted a quarter of 2007 emissions while households made up 23 percent.

The largest decreases in end-user emissions between 2006 and 2007 were found in the public, residential and agricultural sectors (5, 4 and 3 percent respectively), DECC said.