LONDON, June 17 (Reuters) – The Bank of England said it had halved its greenhouse gas emissions in the year through the end of March, due to the switch to electricity fueled by renewable sources and reduced air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK central bank has placed greater emphasis on environmental issues this year as the government prepares to host a major UN climate change summit in Glasgow in November.

In an annual report on its climate impact, the BoE said greenhouse gas emissions from its general operations fell 53% to the equivalent of 10,343 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2020/21, the most sharp annual decline since she started calculating this data in 2015. / 16.

Most of the drop was due to a shift to renewables for its electricity needs, but part of the drop reflected a sharp reduction in air travel.

The BoE said it expects air travel to increase in the current year, but remain below pre-pandemic levels as more international meetings have taken place online.

The BoE aims to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and, more ambitiously, to just over a third of their 2016 level by 2030. The BoE said it was in on track to achieve the latter goal.

More than two-thirds of the BoE’s carbon emissions last year were from the production of the plastic polymer used for UK banknotes, while just under a quarter came from the combustion of natural gas.

The BoE also calculated separately the carbon emissions attributable to its holdings of UK government debt and corporate bonds in pounds sterling.

For government bonds, emissions have fallen 3% in the past year to 222 tonnes of carbon dioxide or the equivalent per million pounds of gross domestic product.

For corporate bonds, emissions fell 9% to 251 tonnes of carbon dioxide or the equivalent per million pounds of corporate revenue.

The BoE will begin adjusting its £ 20 billion ($ 28 billion) corporate bond portfolio to favor more environmentally friendly companies later this year.

($ 1 = 0.7171 pounds)

Reporting by David Milliken; edited by Guy Faulconbridge

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