Positive Environment News

UK on track to meet Kyoto greenhouse gas cuts - UN

Date: 12-May-03
Country: UK

"The most notable achievement was the sizeable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 12.8 percent between 1990 and 2000," the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change said in the "UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory, 1990 to 2001" report.

Britain wants to slash its greenhouse gas output by 12.5 percent on 1990 levels by 2010 under the Kyoto protocol which commits developed countries to cut emissions by 5.2 percent in that period.

U.N. scientists say the world must reduce emissions by more than half current levels to control climate change which they say will lead to rising temperatures and sea levels as well as growing deserts and increased spread of diseases.

The UK has also set a domestic target to make a cut almost twice as big as its Kyoto goal by cutting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide by 23 percent and the report said it had leverage to do so.

"Greenhouse gas mitigation under the programme may go significantly beyond the Kyoto Protocol target in the direction of its domestic goal to reduce carbon dioxide by 20 percent."

Britain's Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett said she was confident the country would meet its ambitious domestic targets but that raised energy efficiency and more investment in new technology were needed.

"This is encouraging for our aim to reduce emissions of CO2 by 60 percent by 2050 and for our commitment to cut CO2 by 20 percent by 2010...but further action is needed," she told a news conference.

She said Britain met the goals by moving from coal-fired electricity generation to gas-fired in 1990-2000 and by using more renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass.

Fiscal measures such as the renewables obligation and the climate change levy, a carbon tax on industry, had also helped reduce emissions.

The renewables obligation stipulates electricity companies to supply three percent of electricity sales from green energy sources from 2002 rising to 10.4 percent in 2011 or pay a penalty.

On Tuesday, European Union Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom said some EU countries needed to take urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as new figures showed such pollution was on the rise.

Data from the European Environment Agency showed emissions in the European Union had risen in 2001 for the second year running despite the bloc's promise under the Kyoto protocol to cut the gases by eight percent from 1990 levels.

© Thomson Reuters 2003 All rights reserved

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