I have tried to get R4 to do a follow up interview to question this claim – John Humphrys could not promise this would happen but agreed that Ministers need to be chased up on statistics if they were questionable.
Not for the first time, a minister, in this case the Sec. of State, appears to be misleading the public about UK emissions. DEFRAs own figures show that UK CO2 emissions have fallen much less than 16% – more like 6% – since 1990. All of that reduction took place prior to Labour coming to office when the Tories were in power and there was a major recession, closures of heavy industry and a switch to gas burning in power stations.
Mr Benn appeared to be talking about the Kyoto basket of greenhouse gases (6 in all) which is on track to meet Kyoto.
The important difference is that CO2 is the single most important greenhouse gas, and Labour has failed to reduce it – which they will not admit to and rarely get pinned down on. About 70% of human induced global warming is due to CO2 emissions.
The UK is set to miss its own CO2 target. And no wonder – with yet more road building, airport expansion and incinerators being promoted by Mr Brown and his colleagues.
It is really important that ministers are challenged on their misuse of statistics in this vital field. Sometimes its arguable what they are claiming due to the choice of words, but in this case Mr Benn made a statement specifically about CO2 which was plainly wrong.’