HL Deb 20 December 1989 vol 514 cc331-2WA
Lord Hatch of Lusby

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the emissions of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years if present practices continue.

Viscount Ullswater

Future emissions of carbon dioxide will depend on many factors, such as the rate of economic growth, fuel prices and consumers' choices. It is not possible to predict all these factors with any accuracy, even in the short term, and estimates of future emissions are therefore subject to considerable uncertainty.

The Department of Energy has however produced a report entitled An Evaluation of Energy Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Measures to Ameliorate Them, for the Energy and Industry Subgroup of the Response Strategies Working Group of the UNEP/WMO Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This report includes estimates of possible carbon dioxide emissions to the year 2020 for a wide range of scenarios. These figures range between 188 and 316 million tonnes, as carbon, in 2020 compared to an estimate of 163 million tonnes for 1987.

The scenarios are not predictions of the future but are intended to provide a framework for assessing possible response options. They cover a wide range of assumptions on economic growth and world fuel prices. Full details can be found in the report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.