Uncertainty over landfills crucial to methane emission plan

Emissions of methane from landfills may be up to five times higher than the figure currently incorporated in the Government's published environmental statistics, Environment Minister David Maclean has acknowledged in a parliamentary answer.1 Resolving uncertainties about the true figure over the next few months will be crucial as the Government prepares a national plan to control methane's contribution to global warming.

Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Under the global Convention on Climate Change, signed at last year's Earth Summit, the UK is pledged to return its emissions of each greenhouse gas to 1990 levels by 2000. A national plan to fulfil this commitment is to be prepared for each gas by the end of the year.

The official inventory of methane emissions has been subject to bewildering changes over the last f

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