Government forecasts take heat off CO2

The UK will meet its international commitment to return carbon dioxide emissions to their 1990 level by 2000 by a handsome margin, according to the latest official energy projections. The figures enabled Environment Secretary John Gummer to propose a "challenging" 5-10% cut in the total "basket" of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. But on closer inspection the UK may meet such a target with virtually no new policy initiatives thanks to reductions in emissions of nitrous oxide and methane. However, key elements of the new CO2 projections - which will underpin any commitment by the UK to take action beyond 2000 - have been criticised by some observers as over-optimistic.

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