Tuesday, February 3, 2009

UK cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5%

By Emily Beament, Press Association 

The Independent, Tuesday, 3 February 2009


The UK's carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1.5 per cent in 2007, according to official figures published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) today.

The final figures for 2007 also revealed that output of all six greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, was down 1.7 per cent on 2006 levels.

The greatest CO2 savings were made by homes, which produced 3.8 million tonnes (4.6 per cent) less carbon dioxide, and businesses, which cut their emissions by 2.4 million tonnes (2.6 per cent).

The energy supply sector also managed to cut its emissions.

But there was an increase in emissions from the transport sector of 1.3 million tonnes and an extra 1.2 million tonnes from industrial processes.

According to the statistics published by Decc, the UK's output of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, which sets legally-binding targets for countries to cut their emissions, was down 21.7 per cent in 2007.

This figure is slightly smaller, 18.4 per cent, if it does not include purchasing carbon credits under emissions trading schemes, but still puts the UK well ahead of its target under Kyoto to cut emissions by 12.5 per cent during 2008-2012.

However there are more domestic stringent targets including a goal to cut carbon dioxide output, the gas which makes up the majority of the UK's emissions, by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010 - which it has long been expected to be missed.

Emissions of CO2 were 12.8 per cent down on 1990 levels in 2007, or 8.5 per cent without counting carbon trading.

The Climate Change Act has also set legally-binding targets for the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and CO2 by at least 26 per cent by 2020.

Responding to today's figures, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: "It's good to see us making progress towards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and we are on course to double our Kyoto commitment by 2012.

"But we need to reduce emissions even more quickly and I believe the policies we are putting in place now will set us on that path to meet the challenging targets we set ourselves in the Climate Change Act."

But anti-poverty campaigners World Development Movement (WDM) accused the Government of "creative accounting" with the figures that showed significant cuts on 1990 levels of carbon dioxide because they did not count aviation and included emissions trading.

Benedict Southworth, director of WDM said: "Today's figures have been manipulated to include supposed reductions that have taken place outside the UK, not by the UK.

"The Government must stop cooking the books and cut carbon emissions in the UK, as well as encouraging cuts around the world, if they are not to be known as the biggest 'greenwashers' of all."

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