Power station emissions soar

Carbon emissions from power stations have shot up by nearly a third since 1999 with a rise of 6% in 2006 alone, a new WWF report revealed.

Findings from the WWF report – compiled by leading energy consultancy IPA Energy + Water – show that in 2006 emissions from power stations shot up to 178 million tonnes of CO2, an increase of 6% over 2005, after a sector-wide return to coal use driven by high gas prices and increasing electricity demand.

The report coincides with the publication of the UK’s provisional carbon emission figures for 2006 (see related story,) which show CO2 emissions to have increased by 1 ¼ % in the 2005-2006 period, and supports the explanation that a switch from gas to coal-powered electricity generation was the main driver behind the CO2 rise.

The sector’s emissions have now reached the highest level since 1992, cancelling out all of the gains from the “dash for gas” in the 1990s, the report said.

Andrea Kaszewski, energy policy officer for WWF UK said: “These figures show that the Government is failing dramatically to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector – the biggest polluter.

“Since Labour came to power in 1997 CO2 emissions from the power sector have risen by a fifth (20.9%), despite Government assurances that they are tackling the problem of climate change.

“This is an outrage. These DTI figures show they have managed to reduce emissions by just 4.5 per cent. The government has a very, very long way to go.”

The report highlights the first phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, indicating it has failed to stop the return to coal, and the price of carbon has crashed because European governments issued far too many pollution permits to their industries.

Keith Allott, director of campaigns at WWF, said: “This is a disgrace. It shows that the Government has talked a good game on climate change while failing dismally to tackle emissions from this highly polluting sector.

“The UK’s power industry is like that coal that it burns, prehistoric and dirty. The Government must tackle this problem right now or face irreparable damage to its environmental credibility.”

The full report can be accessed <a href="http://www.wwf.org.uk/filelibrary/pdf/


Dana Gornitzki

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