Greenhouse gas emissions fall in 2007

The UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.7% in 2007 to 636.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced this week

The figure compares with 647.9Mte in 2006. Net CO2 emissions also fell by 1.5% to 542.6Mt in 2007.

The statistics represent a 21.7% fall relative to the 1990 baseline in the basket of six Kyoto Protocol gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons.

Announcing the results, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said the UK was well ahead of its 12.5% 2012 Kyoto Protocol reduction target.

It added that new measures including those under the Climate Change Act 2008 should accelerate reductions.

But the figures, provided by DECC as part of its climate change sustainable development indicators, show that progress is very patchy. They reveal the largest reduction in emissions came from the energy supply sector, whose emissions fell by 1.8% or 4Mte. However, the residential sector fell more sharply, by 4.6%, achieving almost as much reduction (3.8Mte).

The business sector also showed a strong downward trend of 2.6%, leading to reductions of 2.4Mte.

However, these downward trends were offset by large emission increases in some sectors. The steepest increase came from the transport sector whose emissions rose by 9.5% (1.3Mte). Industrial process emissions nudged up by 1% (1.2Mte).

The statistics show that in 2007, 40% of CO2 emissions were from the energy supply sector, 22% from road transport, 16% from business and 14% from residential fossil fuel use.

Emissions from road transport have increased by 11% since 1990. Meanwhile, emissions from the energy supply industry have been cut by 11% and emissions from business by 19%.

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