If you outsource your manufacturing to China (where they burn massive amounts of coal) and then claim your carbon footprint is shrinking … you are being dishonest.
The message of the Climateworks report is that EU nations aren’t cutting emissions so much as they are exporting or outsourcing them to places like China. That is, the UK no longer manufactures its own consumer goods — it imports them from China, where the manufacturing emissions occur. If anything, emissions are actually increasing in this process since they must be shipped from China back to the UK.
According to the report, UK imports are worth 5.7 metric tons on a per capita basis.
Adding the World Bank per capita carbon footprint of the UK (6.5 tons) to the carbon footprint of UK imports (5.7 tons), the actual per capita carbon footprint of the UK is 12.1 tons — which is about 10% greater than the 1960 per capita carbon footprint of the UK of 11 tons. And this increase in per capita footprint remains despite all the improvements in efficiency made over the past 60 years.
So yes, coal can be replaced by combinations of gas, nuclear and wind — but the notion that emissions are actually being cut is fake news.