UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Actually Rising
Official Figures ‘Misleading’ Claims green think tank
The British delegation at the Rio Conference will hold their heads up high: the UK, we will be told, has made great strides in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Yet analysis from environmental think tank Green House based on government figures demonstrates that this is a misleading claim and that, in reality, UK emissions have been rising.
The official figures will leave two important contributors to greenhouse gas emissions out of the picture:
Emissions from air travel and shipping, that together have doubled since 1990, from 3.2% of total UK emissions to 7.7%; and
Emissions ’embodied’ in imports that are produced overseas but consumed in the UK. If they were included we would have seen that our emissions have increased from 1990 to 2006, rather than substantially reducing as official figures suggest.
While there might have been some reduction with the slowing of the economy since 2007, the overall conclusion is that we have been emitting greenhouse gases at a level above what we agreed at Kyoto throughout the whole period since 1990.
This process of exporting, rather than reducing our emissions, not only prevents us from tackling climate change, it also undermines our economy by encouraging the off-shoring of production and jobs. By contrast if we moved to a more locally based economy powered by renewable energy we could achieve a huge transitional boost to the economy in the short term, and massively increase our sustainability in the long term.
The detailed analysis behind these figures can be downloaded from the Green House website at http://www.greenhousethinktank.org/page.php?pageid=gases.
(See n.ii, for acknowledgement of my pathbreaking contribution to this…)
Geoff Lean’s reporting in the Telegraph of my Hay debate with Mike Hulme:
19.15 Geoffrey Lean has sent this report from a “vigorous debate” at the Hay on Earth tent on philosophy, politics and communicationwith Mike Hulme and Rupert Read:
If climate scientists are partially responsible for beating they have taken over the last two and a half years, how much are they themselves to blame? Two academics from the University of East Anglian – at the heart of the storm since thousands of emails were leaked in November 2009- give very different answers.
Mike Hulme, professor of climate science, believes that scientists ascribed too much certainty to their findings and went beyond the constraints of their discipline to make value judgements and recommendations for action. Rupert Read, reader, in philosophy, says that , on the contrary, they have not been courageous enough and should be bolder about issuing warnings about its consequences. After a vigorous debate, a show of hands showed that the audience overwhelmingly sided with Read.