HC Deb 25 April 2002 vol 384 cc386-7W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made since 1997 in cutting UK emissions of carbon dioxide. [51610]

Mr. Meacher

[holding answer 24 April 2002]: The UK Climate Change Programme and Third National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were published in November 2000 and October 2001 respectively. These set out the policies by which the UK will meet its Kyoto commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent. relative 1990 levels over the period 2008–2012, and move towards our domestic goal of a 20 per cent. reduction in carbon dioxide relative to 1990 by 2010.

Actual emissions in 1997 were estimated to be 152.5 million tonnes of carbon (MtC), or about 7 per cent. below the level in 1990. In 2000 (the most recent year for which final data are available) carbon dioxide had fallen by a further 0.4 MtC, but provisional 2001 data show an increase of 1.9 MtC. This increase reflects higher power station emissions (plus 4.1 MtC relative to 1997), colder outside temperatures (plus 2.1 MtC) and trends elsewhere in the economy (minus 4.2 MtC). The increase in power station emissions is due to gas price fluctuations, and colder outside temperatures increased demand on space heating requirements. We do not expect longer term trends to be affected, particularly since trends elsewhere in the economy are tending to reduce emissions. Our estimated reductions set out in the UK Climate Change Programme and the Third National Communication are therefore unchanged.

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