UN confirms UK is on target for Kyoto goals

The UK has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.8% since 1990, according to new figures from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The reduction is against a background of a decade of economic growth of 25%, points out the UNFCCC.

There have been notable cuts in the three main greenhouse gases compared to 1990 figures, according to the new UNFCCC report: a reduction of 35% for N2O, 33% for methane and 8% for CO2.

The report also comments that the UK has been outstanding it its rigorous verification and evaluation processes for the greenhouse gas inventory, and praises the high level of collaboration and harmonisation between industry, government and non-governmental organisations in tackling climate change.

“Beyond this, we look forward to taking an active part in discussions on what further action is needed post-2012 to achieve the UNFCCC ultimate objective,” said Secretary of State for Environment Margaret Beckett.

In April, the Government published figures that showed that companies signed up to Climate Change Agreements had cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 13.5 million tonnes last year, almost three times above target. However, the environmental news service, ENDS, questioned the success of the emissions trading scheme under which companies are paid, in effect, to do what they would have to do under law (see related story).

The UK’s future success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions further will hinge upon the Government’s ability to balance ongoing reductions whilst maintaining a low-cost energy supply, diversity and security of supply. There also needs to be more accurate identification of the impact of individual policies and measures on transport emission trends.

There have also been successes with other air pollutants, according to new figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In urban areas in 2002, pollution was recorded as being moderate or higher on 20 days, compared with 25 days in 2001 and 59 days in 1993.

In rural areas there were 30 such pollution days, down from 34 in 2001. The number of days has fluctuated between 21 in 1987 and 50 in 1990.



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