Windfall CO2 savings underpin short-term strategy on climate change

The UK's carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 will be 4-8% lower than in 1990, according to a progress report on the Government's climate change strategy.1 The savings are largely due to the large increase in gas-fired power generation - and have permitted the Government to take a relaxed view of the failure of many measures announced in the strategy. As a result, continuing downward pressure on energy prices means that "no regrets" measures to improve domestic and industrial energy efficiency are likely to be put on the back burner. And in a fit of perverse logic, the Government now claims that CO2 savings from higher road fuel duty will be greater than previously thought - even though the duty increases are now likely to be all but cancelled out by continuing downward pressure on oil prices.

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