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UK Government blames home users as greenhouse gases figures rise

By Kieran Ball - 02 Apr 2011 15:4:0 GMT
UK Government blames home users as greenhouse gases figures rise

The latest figures from the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) show that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK rose between 2009 and 2010.

Emissions of the six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol in 2010 were provisionally estimated at 582.4 million tonnes of the carbon dioxide equivalent, a rise of 2.8% on the 2009 figure. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, accounting for 84% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions, was up 3.8%. Under the UN's Kyoto Protocol, Britain is committed to cutting emissions to 12.5% below 1990 levels before 2012. The country has also set a domestic target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% before 2020. The latest figures will clearly make this target more difficult to meet.

While the figures from the transport sector were stable, the government was quick to highlight that the bulk of the increase came from the residential sector, despite the fact that just 17% of all CO2 emissions comes from the nation's homes. The statistics showed an increase of 13.4% in CO2 emissions from the residential sector over the previous year, mostly due to increased use of gas in homes. However, many believe this was a result of an exceptionally cold winter, as well as a shift from nuclear power to coal and gas for energy production.

Nevertheless, the secretary for energy and climate change said that much more could be done to reduce CO2 emissions in the residential sector by making homes more efficient to heat:

'Britain is 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.'

Environmental groups blasted the government's stance. Friends Of The Earth executive director, Andy Atkins, said: 'Our economy is as dangerously hooked on fossil fuels as it was 20 years ago - so emissions are bound to rise as the economy picks up.

The government has repeatedly promised to build a low carbon economy to tackle climate change and insulate us from yo-yoing fuel prices, but the treasury refuses to lay the foundations or pay for the bricks.'