Azara Blog: UK greenhouse gas emissions rose between 2003 and 2004

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Date published: 2005/04/01

The BBC says:

The UK's emissions of greenhouse gases rose between 2003 and 2004, according to provisional government data.

The emissions last year were 1.5% above those in 2003, and are now higher than at any time since the Labour government came to power in 1997.

For the first time, the data also suggests Britain could miss its target set down under the Kyoto Protocol.

Opposition politicians and green groups have accused the government of losing control of greenhouse gases.

"The increase in carbon emissions and greenhouse gases shows the failure of Labour's strategy for tackling climate change," said Liberal Democrat shadow environment secretary Norman Baker, in a statement.

"The latest figures mean that we may actually miss our targets under the Kyoto Protocol."

The Kyoto treaty commits Britain to keeping annual greenhouse emissions during the period 2008-2012 to 12.5% below 1990 levels.

In 2002, the UK was 14.4% below 1990 levels, and in 2003, 13.4% below.

The provisional figures for 2004 show emissions are 12.6% below - just 0.1% underneath the Kyoto figure.

The government says the main reason for the increase is growing energy demand; statistics show that emissions rose from industry, transport and the domestic sector.

Nobody should make anything from one year's set of figures, it is hardly the end of the world. It's an election year so one can perhaps forgive the silly statement from Norman Baker (but he is one of the weaker members of the LibDem shadow team, and that's saying something when you have Charles Kennedy in that group). Driving a car is the only economic activity in the UK which pays (enough of) a carbon tax. The problem is that all other economic activities do not. In particular power generation does not and so-called public transport does not. Funnily enough the so-called environmentalists spend all their time complaining about cars (and airplanes) and actually think that bus and train users should be subsidised even more than they already are rather than being forced to pay enough so that they cover the full (including environmental) cost of their journeys.

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