Fleet News

Minimal fall in UK greenhouse gas emissions

Figures just released for all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK in 2006 show that total emissions were down just 0.5% on 2005 levels.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), which makes up about 85% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions, fell just 0.1% over the same period.

However, as Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn was keen to point out, the British economy grew by 2.9% in 2006, meaning the country is breaking the historic link between economic growth and growth in emissions.

"The UK is on track to meet and go well beyond its Kyoto commitments, but as a country we must do much more across the board,” he said.

“We have to make a real change to every aspect of our lives and our economy.”

The biggest decrease in CO2 emissions was in the residential sector, with a fall of 4% on 2005 levels.

But CO2 emissions from transport rose by 1.3%.

However, while emissions from transport increased overall, the emissions from cars actually fell for the fourth consecutive year.

In 2002, CO2 emissions from passenger cars were at an all time high of 72.5 million tonnes.

In 2006, that had fallen to 68.7 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, reflecting the massive Government investment in public transport over the same period, emissions from trains rose by 300,000 tonnes, while CO2 emissions from buses rose by 800,000 tonnes.

Emissions from aviation also increased.

Between 2005 and 2006, CO2 emissions from domestic aviation fell by 2.8%, but international aviation emissions increased by 1.5%.

The aviation industry was singled out for criticism in a report published this week by the House of Commons Treasury Committee, which said:

“The Government must ensure that airlines are at least covering the environmental cost of their actions.

"We express concern that airlines are dragging their feet in cooperating on environmental schemes, and recommend that airlines adopt a system of eco-labelling, so that consumers can compare the environmental footprint of each airline when purchasing their tickets.”

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