Industry cuts emissions beyond expectation

British industry cut the amount of carbon dioxide it emits by 14.4 million tonnes last year - more than double the target set by government.

This figure, from major manufacturers and energy intensive business, was 8.9 million tonnes more than the minimum signed up to under Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) – ten year energy efficiency agreements which give firms an 80% discount on their climate change levy if they meet targets.

“The contribution needed from industry to help us meet total emissions cut targets and energy efficiency goals is considerable, but already companies are reaping the rewards of cost effective, low-carbon measures and they have proved they are prepared to play a big part in combating climate change,” said Elliot Morley, Minister for Climate Change and Environment.

Of the 42 sectors registered, 38 had all facilities recertified to continue to claim climate change levy discounts and 98% of sites met targets and had discounts renewed.

The biggest absolute cuts were from the steel sector despite an increased output, and from the aluminium, cement and chemicals sectors.

Paper and the food and drink sectors also saw big improvements in emissions reduction and energy efficiency.

While heavy industry has made huge cuts in emissions, all parts of the agriculture sector have been granted a rebate of ¬687 million on their climate change levy.

The rebate – 50% for horticulture and 80% for agriculture sectors covered by IPPC agreements – is designed to help UK agriculture cope with higher energy prices caused by the levy while helping meet CO2 reduction targets at the same time.

Despite the drop in industrial emissions, critics of the government’s policies on climate change were quick to denounce them.

“What these figures show is that while industry is getting its act together, the government is failing lamentably in the areas where it is responsible such as transport,” said Norman Baker MP, Lib Dem Shadow Environment spokesman.

“There was still a massive increase in emissions last year which blows a hole through the government’s climate change strategy.”

He said the latest figures mean there is little chance of the UK reaching its on 20% reduction target for 2010 and called for the Prime Minister to come forward with policies to secure significant reductions.

By David Hopkins

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