New Minister's slips on CO2

The new Environment Under Secretary, Lord Strathclyde, made an inauspicious parliamentary debut as a Minister by insisting that the Government has taken three steps to limit carbon dioxide emissions which have, in fact, increased them.

During oral questions in the Lords on 12 May, Lord Strathclyde was asked to elaborate on a comment that the Government has already introduced measures to curb CO2 emissions. "For instance," he replied, "we have encouraged the use of unleaded petrol; we are introducing catalytic converters on new cars from next year, and we have also introduced the use of sulphur scrubbers at power stations."

The switch to production of unleaded petrol has resulted in a small increase in energy consumption at oil refineries, put at 2% by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in 1983.

Catalytic converters, according to a recent parliamentary reply, will result in an increase in CO2 emissions of 9-23% when compared to emissions from an uncontrolled car of the same type.

Desulphurisation equipment reduces the efficiency of a power station by about one percentage point, so that the CO2 emitted in producing the same amount of electricity will increase by about 3%.

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