Greenhouse Gases Emissions Rise to Peak Levels

The latest official figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed a rise in the six major greenhouse gases last year of 2.8 per cent to 582 million tonnes.

The increase was blamed on the economic recovery as businesses, factories and households were able to pay for more power.

However green groups pointed out that the rise in carbon dioxide was much sharper than the growth in the economy.

Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, increased by nearly 4 per cent to 492 million tonnes, the second largest rise since 1990.

Most of the rise was blamed on residential gas use as people turned on the heating because of the coldest start to the year for decades.

Also, due to technical problems at some nuclear power stations, more electricity was generated from coal and gas-fired power stations.

The figures come after Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, cast doubt on the future of nuclear in the UK.

Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace, said despite the cold start and economic growth, emissions should still be falling.

“A struggling economy and rising carbon emissions are exactly the conditions that require significant levels of green investment that can boost the economy, create jobs but simultaneously cut pollution,” he said.

“That’s why it’s worrying that, in the last 12 months, clean energy investment here has fallen by 70 per cent. Ministers urgently need a plan to turn things around.”

Since 1990, the baseline year for cutting emissions, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions have reduced fallen by a quarter, meaning the country is on target to meet climate change targets, including the Kyoto Protocol.

Falls in CO2 have been led by a reduction in emissions from energy supply, largely as a result of a switch from coal to gas, and from business.

But emissions from heating homes have increased by 8 per cent in the past two decades, while transport emissions have also increased slightly.

Andy Atkins, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, said emissions are not falling fast enough.

“Three-quarters of the public want the Government to prioritise investments into energy saving and renewable power – it’s time to end the UK’s dirty and dangerous addiction to old energy and invest in a brighter, cleaner future,” he said.

Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said more efficient homes is the key to cutting greenhouse gases.

“Britain’s blighted by inefficient and draughty homes which is why we want to help people waste less energy through the Green Deal and install new cleaner technologies to heat their homes,” he said.

“As we come out of recession the Coalition’s determined to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. That’s why we are pushing on all fronts to turn around Britain’s woeful record on renewables.”

About narhvalur

Environmentalist, Animal Lover, Birder,Equastrian
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