UK carbon emissions still rising

Posted: 29 March 2007

UK carbon dioxide emissions rose again in 2006 and are now higher than they have ever been since the Labour government came to power ten years ago, provisional Government figures reveal.

The provisionsal figures show that:

  • UK carbon dioxide emissions in 2006 were the highest they have ever been under Labour - 2.7 per cent above 1997 levels.
  • UK carbon dioxide emissions in 2006 were 1.2 per cent higher than in 2005.
  • The Government is even further away from keeping its repeated promise (in three general election manifestos) to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent of 1990 levels by 2010. To be on track to meet this target, emissions should have been around 10 per cent lower than 1997 levels in 2006.

A public consultation on what the new climate law should contain ends in June. Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said: "These pathetic figures highlight the need for tougher action to tackle climate change. Government proposals for a new climate change law must include annual targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by at least three per cent each year. This would force successive governments to put climate change at the core of all their policies and ensure that the UK move towards a low carbon economy. Most of the solutions to climate change already exist. It is the political will that's lacking." These latest figures do not include emissions from the UK's share of international aviation and shipping, which are rising even faster. Government figures released in January revealed that between 2004 and 2005, Carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation emissions increased by 5.7 per cent, due to an increased number of flights. Between 1990 and 2005, emissions from aviation fuel use more than doubled. The UK share of international aviation emissions is not included in Government targets for tackling climate change. Friends of the Earth says that it should be and should also be included in the proposed Climate Change Bill.

1. Note: UK carbon dioxide emissions since 1990 (all in Million Tonnes of Carbon - from page 22 of DTI statistics are as follows:

1990 - 161.51991 - 163.3 1992 - 158.71993 - 154.61994 - 152.51995 - 149.91996 - 155.81997 - 149.61998 - 150.01999 - 147.52000 - 149.72001 - 152.62002 - 148.22003 - 151.42004 - 151.32005 - 151.12006 - 152.9 (provisional)2010 target - 129.2 (20per cent below 1990 level)

Related links: FOE press release

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