UK carbon emissions still higher than when Labour came to power
today by the Government, Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner Robin Webster
“UK emissions are slightly lower than 2006, but they are not falling nearly fast
“The figures distort the picture by failing to include the UK’s share of international
shipping and aviation emissions – the reality is that UK carbon dioxide emissions
are still higher than when Labour came to power in 1997, despite repeated promises
of significant cuts.
“The recently passed Climate Change Act commits the UK to slashing greenhouse
gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – but it won’t meet this target without significant
changes in Government policy.
“The Government’s failing energy strategy must be completely overhauled. It must
focus on a huge expansion in green sources of power and cutting energy waste –
and plans to build new coal-fired power stations and bigger airports must be scrapped.
lead by example, commit itself to cutting its emissions by at least 40 per cent
by 2020 and develop a safe, clean and prosperous future for us all.”
Notes to Editors
1. According to Government figures UK carbon dioxide emissions were (million
tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) 551.6 in 1997 and 542.6 in 2007. (1.6% down).
Adding in bunker fuels changes the 1997 figure to 582.9 and the 2007 level to
584.9 (almost no change – slightly higher).
2. In its 3 successful general election campaigns Labour has made manifesto
commitments to cutting UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 (compared to
3. Under the Climate Change Act which was passed last year – and which Friends
of the Earth led the campaign for through The Big Ask – the UK is legally required
to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. A series of five
year ‘greenhouse gas budgets’ will also be set to ensure that this target is kept
on track – the first series of emission budgets will be announced at the same
time as the Chancellor’s economic budget in the spring.
4. Friends of the Earth is calling for urgent International action to prevent
a climate catastrophe. A strong and fair international deal to prevent runaway
climate change destroying our planet must be reached at the UN climate summit
in Copenhagen at the end of the year. This must include a commitment from rich
countries to reducing their own countries’ emissions by at least 40% by 2020
– without offsetting
from bunkers at UK airports and ports (whether by UK or non-UK operators).
by 1.9%, although between 1990 and 2007 the level of these emissions has more
than doubled. High altitude aviation also has a greenhouse effect over and above
that of carbon dioxide alone, but this is not reflected in this indicator.
UK aviation, which requires them to be no higher than 2005 levels in 2050. This
target incorporates emissions from both domestic and international aviation.
a third. Since 1998 there has been a decrease of 23% in emissions from UK shipping
bunkers, although there was a 1.5% increase from 2006 to 2007. However, UK operators
purchase most of their fuel outside the UK.
aviation and shipping are not included in the UK’s emissions total, but these
estimates are reported as memo items in national greenhouse gas inventories.
Parties to the UNFCCC are required to act to limit or reduce emissions from international
services working through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)
and International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
as National Statistics towards the end of March 2009. This will coincide with
the publication of Energy Trends, which will include the first estimates of 2008
UK energy consumption.
used to compile this statistical release, is available at:
oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride, all of which
are weighted by global warming potential (GWP). The GWP for each gas is defined
as its warming influence relative to that of carbon dioxide.
reporting and carbon trading protocols.
are two of the 68 indicators supporting the Government’s Sustainable Development