UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Actually Rising
Official Figures ‘Misleading’ Claims green think tank
The British delegation at the Rio Conference will hold their heads up high: the UK, we will be told, has made great strides in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Yet analysis from environmental think tank Green House based on government figures demonstrates that this is a misleading claim and that, in reality, UK emissions have been rising.
The official figures will leave two important contributors to greenhouse gas emissions out of the picture:
Emissions from air travel and shipping, that together have doubled since 1990, from 3.2% of total UK emissions to 7.7%; and
Emissions ’embodied’ in imports that are produced overseas but consumed in the UK. If they were included we would have seen that our emissions have increased from 1990 to 2006, rather than substantially reducing as official figures suggest.
While there might have been some reduction with the slowing of the economy since 2007, the overall conclusion is that we have been emitting greenhouse gases at a level above what we agreed at Kyoto throughout the whole period since 1990.
This process of exporting, rather than reducing our emissions, not only prevents us from tackling climate change, it also undermines our economy by encouraging the off-shoring of production and jobs. By contrast if we moved to a more locally based economy powered by renewable energy we could achieve a huge transitional boost to the economy in the short term, and massively increase our sustainability in the long term.
The detailed analysis behind these figures can be downloaded from the Green House website at http://www.greenhousethinktank.org/page.php?pageid=gases.
(See n.ii, for acknowledgement of my pathbreaking contribution to this…)