Carbon emissions third year on the rise

Britain's carbon emissions have been rising for the last three years, with an overall increase of about 2% since Labour came to power, Government figures released on Thursday reveal.

The news closely follows a Government announcement that the UK will most likely miss its own 2010 carbon cut target of 20% (see climate strategy story), prompting criticism over insufficient emission-curbing measures from environmentalists and rival parties.

Last year, emissions of carbon dioxide rose about a quarter of a percent, although overall emissions of greenhouse gases remained constant, the figures show. The environment ministry put the rise down to increased energy use, and a small switch from gas to coal in power stations.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Chief Executive, Duncan McLaren, said:

“While Tony Blair is appearing in the global spotlight raising the alarm about climate change, back home carbon emissions are going up. The solutions to climate change already exist and the majority of MPs and millions of people across country want action.

“Given his continuing failure to do what is necessary, it is clear that a climate change law is needed to deliver the cuts in pollution that the scientific evidence demands”.

The Lib Dems urged more green taxes. Shadow Environment Secretary, Chris Huhne MP, said:

“The increase in carbon emissions shows the failure of Labour’s strategy for tackling climate change. No wonder these latest figures were omitted from their climate change programme.

“The Government’s record in the five years since their Climate Change Programme was published in November 2000 has not been a good one. Emissions of carbon dioxide have risen, with a fall in green taxes.

“The steady rise in carbon emissions since 2000, when the Government capitulated to the fuel protesters, is now coming home to roost.”

The new air pollutant emission figures for 2004 form part of the

National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, can be accessed on the Defra website.

By Goska Romanowicz

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