Gas emissions down but so is economy

The statistics for UK greenhouse gas emissions for 2009 show a fall but this is largely thanks to the poor economy rather than any positive action.

Climate Change secretary Chris Huhne said that a reduction in carbon was the only way to continue this trend.

He said: “Yes, emissions were down in 2009 but so was the economy so this is no time for back slapping.

“A low carbon approach has to be a vital part of kick starting and future proofing our economy, getting us off the oil hook and onto long term green growth.

“That’s why we’re wasting no time in reforming the electricity market, setting up the Green Investment Bank, and legislating for the Green Deal.”

The statistics showed that the greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol were estimated to be 566.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). This was 8.7 per cent lower than the 2008 figure of 620.5 million tonnes.

The report says that the overall decrease in emissions is primarily due to a fall in energy consumption across all sectors and an increase in the use of nuclear power rather than coal and natural gas for electricity generation.

As the UK economy contracted during 2009, this resulted in an overall reduction in demand for electricity, together with lower fossil fuel consumption by businesses and households.

The 2020 targets for emissions reductions will be easier for the UK to attain now, but investment and development in renewables will be crucial to maintain the downward trend.

Alison Brown

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