NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 12, 2007

Great Britain's emissions of greenhouse gases have risen by nearly a fifth over the past two decades, rather than falling as the government claims, according to a new report from Oxford University.

Other findings:

  • When the country's emissions are analyzed using the UN climate convention's method, its performance is impressive.
  • That way of recording emissions shows Great Britain achieved a fall of 5.3 per cent in emissions between 1990 and 2005, though there has been a slight rise recently.
  • It has already beaten its Kyoto target of 12.5 per cent by 2008-12.

However, the United Nations leaves out aviation, shipping and the carbon content of imports when it adds up greenhouse gas emissions, according to the authors.  If these factors are included, it is claimed, Britons' lifestyles have a much greater effect upon the climate than the modest decline in emissions recorded by the government.

The authors say the implications are stark: Great Britain has not yet -- as ministers claim -- broken the link between economic growth and emissions.

Source: Charles Clover, "UK's greenhouse gas emissions 'up by a fifth'," London Telegraph, December 12, 2007.

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