Friday, 1 February 2008

UK CO2 Emissions Down in 2006

The UK Government yesterday released the results from its 2006 national greenhouse gas emissions inventory. The emissions inventory measures both greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, transport, agriculture and other activities, and absorption of CO2 by trees in the forestry sector. At 652 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, the total represents a 0.5% decrease from the 655 million tonnes recorded 2005.

0.5% is quite a bit below the 2-3% target that many experts want included in the national Climate Change Bill. Some sectors of the economy made significant reductions, while others actually saw their emissions increase. Energy emissions have increased 1.5% as rising gas prices stimulated a shift to coal-fired power generation. Other residential emissions have fallen 4%. On the aviation front, emissions from domestic flights have fallen 2.8%, while international aviation emissions rose 1.5%.

Interestingly, the Government also tracked the effect of carbon credits traded on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The UK was a net buyer of these credits, purchasing 34 million tonnes of carbon offsets, 4% of total emissions.

A good start, but much more is needed.