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We know from research we undertook in 2021 that the majority (72%) [1] of the Island’s residents are worried about climate change and want to see action.

Occasionally though, we see comments which suggest the Island is too small to make a difference, given its size and overall contribution to emissions. In 2021, total global greenhouse gas emissions were around 50.9 gigatonnes tCO2e [1]. In 2020 [2] the Isle of Man produced 672,621 tonnes [3]. Of course, the Isle of Man’s contribution to total global emissions is small (less than 1%). However, this statistic should not be used alone as it does not provide the full picture.

Our per capita emissions are around 8 tonnes [4], which almost double the world’s average of 4.5 tonnes [5] per person, is on a par with China (also 8 tonnes per person [6]). It is above the UK at 5.15 tonnes [7] and is far in excess of many countries most severely affected by the impacts of climate change [8]. Pakistan for example, which has experienced devastating climate change related flooding, has per capita emissions of less than 1 tonne [9].

In addition, emissions from manufacturing are attributed to the country in which that manufacturing takes place, rather than in the country using the final product. As a net importer this is particularly relevant to the Isle of Man. Emissions, from activities for which we are creating and sustaining demand, are currently attributed to countries with export economies, such as China. Similarly, international shipping and aviation are not currently attributed to any country, as international agreement on how they should be allocated has not been reached.

While this aligns with current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reporting practice [10] and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidance, it does not show the full picture of the emissions for which we, as a nation, are responsible.  Should these methodologies change and include Scope 3 activities such as imports, the Island’s emissions would increase dramatically.

The Isle of Man has a legal duty [11] to reduce its emissions and, as a developed nation and part of the global community, we have an ethical responsibility to address our contribution to climate change and climate justice and internationally, our reputation must be upheld. However, these are not the

only drivers for reducing emissions. There are significant economic and social benefits associated with transition to net zero.

The global business community and their customers, via ESG commitments, are demanding clean energy and climate positive policy from the jurisdictions in which they operate. The Island is losing business because of our lack of renewable energy provision. Our climate credentials are therefore critical to the success of our Future Economic Strategy. We cannot hope to attract and retain young people, workers and businesses without, at least, keeping pace with the rest of the world in reducing global temperatures.

Actions which lower emissions, such as energy efficiency measures and installing air source heat pumps, are helping households lower their bills. Moving away from single occupancy fossil fuel vehicles can encourage physical activity and lower pollution, which benefit public health. Cleaner energy will reduce air pollution and the various health problems associated with breathing polluted air. These are just some of the examples of the numerous co-benefits of transition to net zero. We have a list of co-benefits in our appendix to the Isle of Man Climate Change Plan 2022-2027 [12].  


[1] Climate Change Insights report

[1] UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020

[2] Due to the two year period required to compile the report, 2020 is the most recent Isle of Man Greenhouse Gas Inventory

[3] Isle of Man Greenhouse Gas Inventory,

[4] Isle of Man Greenhouse Gas Inventory,

[5] 2020, Statista,

[6] 2021, Our World in Data,

[7] 2021, Our World in Data,


[9] 2021, Our World in Data


[11] Climate Change Act 2021




  • Impact of climate change on the Isle of Man
  • Isle of Man
  • Climate Change Plan