Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down

Provisional figures show UK gas emissions fell by 2% last year to a total of 639.4m tonnes of CO2 equivalent. We now emit 18% less than in 1990 – far below the Kyoto target of a reduction of 12.5%. But these figures exclude emissions from shipping and aviation which the National Audit Office estimates would add 12% to the total. So qualified good news.

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6 Responses to Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down

  1. matt says:

    I think the following quote from your linked article is crucial;

    “It has nothing to do with government policy,” said Robin Smale, an energy analyst at Vivid Economics. “Coal became more expensive than gas so [electricity producers] switched some of their production to gas.”

    Smale said that emissions from shipping and aviation should be included in national figures, as well as the contribution from UK imports. “We know that [shipping, aviation and imports are] a big part of the carbon footprint. So there is a lot of potential leakage of carbon that we are not monitoring,” he said.

    As emissions are a global issue we need the figures for the whole planet to be collated. This is of course impossible.

  2. keithsc says:

    Which means that perhaps we overestimate the importance of governments on these issues. We need to start by influencing where we are – our own homes, communities and work places working up to regional, national and international scales. An interesting question – can we get a figure for the whole planet?

  3. matt says:

    The biggest interest on this site by far from around the world is regarding the plastics pollution within the North Pacific gyre. We even have our first wiki reference from this for a post showing photos & video of plastics pollution given to The Coffee House by the only research organisation to have travelled into the gyre.

    The point is this topic and the posts linked to it have run and run because people are deeply concerned about it. No major NGO funded research or government task force has spurred on this concern. Rather a small organisation, Algalita Marine Research Foundation and 1000s of internet users have started to raise the profile of this issue, as well as a newspaper in San Franciso.

    So yes, I do think it’s very important for a groundswell of concerned citizens to rise up and pressure their governments relentlessly until they commit their taxes and time to resolving these many environmental problems. Governments after all are inheriently reactive rather than proactive.

  4. Pete Smith says:

    OK, here’s a question from a simple soul: how do they measure our emissions? In other words, how do they know they’ve gone down by 2%? What’s the margin for error?

    Sorry, that’s 3 questions … 🙂

  5. keithsc says:

    I would think there is a big margin for error but the figure is getting increasingly accurate. It is a crucial question though and as Matt said we really need global figures and I don’t know of any serious attempts to calculate that.

  6. Pete Smith says:

    “I would think there is a big margin for error”
    I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Even a leeway as small as 3% means emissions might actually have gone up.
    Talking of global figures … is there any authoritative source on how far and how quickly emissions are distributed through the atmospheric system? In other words, how soon do our emissions become their problem?

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