DECC estimates 2% rise in CO2 emissions in fourth quarter 2012

The UK's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) increased by 1.6% for the fourth quarter of 2012 from the third quarter due to an increase in demand for heating, according to Government data published today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published data today showing that total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been provisionally estimated at 571.7million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). This is an increase from around 562.7MtCO2e estimated in the third quarter of 2012.

The increasing trend in actual emissions was primarily due to lower temperatures in the final quarter of 2012 compared with the equivalent quarter in 2011, which led to an increase in demand for space heating.

Breaking down GHG emissions, the data estimates that for the fourth quarter of 2012, total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at around 479.2Mt. This was 2% higher than in the third quarter, when emissions were estimated to be 469.8Mt.

On a temperature adjusted basis, greenhouse gas emissions in the year to the fourth quarter 2012 were provisionally estimated at 569.6MtCO2e, which is slightly lower than the level of the previous quarter.

DECC said that emissions measured on a temperature adjusted basis were similar to actual emissions. This reflects the fact that, on the whole, temperatures in the last year were close to the long-term average.
Emissions on a temperature adjusted basis, however, showed little change compared with the previous quarter.

Last week, a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) found that the UK’s carbon footprint has increased by 10% over the past two decades, as growth in imported emissions has more than offset the 19% reduction in production emissions.

The report suggests that as a result, the UK is now one of the world’s largest net importers of emissions, with a carbon footprint that is around 80% larger than its production emissions, reflecting the relatively small share of manufacturing in UK GDP.

Meanwhile, the latest international discussions on climate change kicked off in Bonn this week with the UN warning that a growing sense of urgency is needed as GHG emissions are set to reach record levels.

Leigh Stringer

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