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UK emissions figures down by 0.5% says Defra 31.01.08

Greenhouse gas emissions fell again in 2006, putting the UK in an even stronger position to exceed its Kyoto Protocol commitment, new figures DEFRA show. The final figures for all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK in 2006 show that total greenhouse gas emissions were down 0.5 per cent on 2005 levels, while carbon dioxide (CO2), which makes up about 85 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, stayed virtually the same (a 0.1 per cent fall).

The economy grew another 2.9 per cent in 2006, meaning that the UK is continuing to break the historic link between economic growth and growth in emissions.

The biggest decrease in CO2 emissions was in the residential sector, with a fall of 4 per cent on 2005 levels, along with a decrease of 1.6 per cent in the business sector. Other sectors increased, including energy supply (up by 1.5 per cent) and transport (up by 1.3 percent).

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 16.4 per cent lower than 1990 levels. When the effect of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme included, the overall reduction is 20.7 per cent.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said that while the downward trend was positive, a much bigger change was needed.

“The UK is on track to meet and go well beyond its Kyoto commitments, but as a country we must do much more across the board. We have to make a real change to every aspect of our lives and our economy. The Government is taking steps to make that happen.

“That’s why we’ve introduced the Climate Change Bill in Parliament, which will set a target to cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050, and are looking at whether that target should be stronger still. That’s why we’re reforming the planning system to remove barriers to renewable energy and backing new nuclear power generation. And that’s why we’ll play our full part in fulfilling the EU’s clear commitment to build a low carbon economy in Europe.”

Mr Benn said that the decrease in emissions from the residential sector, coming on top of a similar decrease in 2005, was a hopeful sign.

“The fall in household emissions for the second year in a row is very encouraging. People are much more aware of their impact on the climate than they were even a few years ago, and I’m hopeful that these figures will become a continuing trend as we all increase our efforts to cut our carbon footprints at home.”

The inventory figure for 2006 carbon dioxide emissions does not take into account the effect of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which was in its second year in 2006.

Emissions from aviation continued to increase. Between 2005 and 2006, CO2 emissions from domestic aviation decreased by 2.8 per cent, while international aviation emissions increased by 1.5 per cent, due to an increased number of flights. Between 1990 and 2006, emissions from aviation fuel use more than doubled.

“The rising emissions from international flights make it clearer than ever that we to get all flights arriving at and departing from EU airports into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme by 2012.

“The European Parliament must back the agreement reached by Environment Ministers last December, which will ensure that the aviation industry meets the environmental cost of its emissions, and that growth in the aviation industry means emissions are reduced elsewhere,” Mr Benn said.

The statistical release for the final 2006 greenhouse gas emissions can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/news/

The full 2006 statistics can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics/globatmos.htm

Peter Shield

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