Debra Sachs, Director
Alliance for Climate Action
585 Pine Street
Burlington, VT 05401
From: Ralph Stuart [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 5:21 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [GREENUVM] CO2 rise forces energy rethink
From the UK newspaper "The Guardian"; interesting
political implications of setting GHG goals...
CO2 rise forces energy rethink
Paul Brown, environment correspondent
Friday April 1, 2005
Carbon dioxide emissions are rising rapidly in
the UK, forcing the government to consider a
range of new measures to keep its pledge to
combat climate change.
Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry
yesterday show that rather than falling as
planned, carbon dioxide emissions have risen
rapidly - by 2.2% in 2003 and 1.5% in 2004.
With the last Labour manifesto pledging to cut
emissions on 1990 levels by 20% by 2010, the
government has realised that drastic action is
required to tackle the problem.
Downing Street said yesterday a review of climate
policy being undertaken by the Department of the
Environment would be "ramped up" to tackle the
problem. "Obviously there will have to be new
measures," a spokesman said.
Among the actions being considered are:
* A review of wind power and other renewables to
see if they can deliver more carbon dioxide
* Large scale investment in the next generation
of tidal, wave and solar systems;
* Consideration of whether a new generation of
nuclear power stations is needed;
* Tax breaks and subsidies for energy efficient household appliances;
* New building regulations to make houses and
businesses more energy efficient;
* Carbon taxes,<-> including rises in fuel duties;
* A reduction in prices of alternative fuels and
subsidies for bio-diesel made from oil seed rape.
Although some of the measures have already been
trailed as under consideration, others are
controversial, particularly the reconsideration
of the nuclear question.
Apart from its 2001 manifesto pledge of a 20%
reduction, which the government has admitted it
might not meet, the UK is committed to a legally
binding 12.5% cut in greenhouse gas emissions
under the Kyoto protocol, which came into force
Until the latest figures were released yesterday
the government was confident that it would be
well within the Kyoto target, but unless the
trend is reversed it will miss that too.
Carbon dioxide levels have risen because
government measures to introduce 10% of
electricity from renewables are behind schedule,
power stations are burning more coal and gas,
traffic and congestion have increased and the
government backed off from increasing petrol and
diesel prices, which was originally a key part of
The figures released yesterday are a particularly
embarrassment to the prime minister, because he
has made tackling climate change the flagship
policy for Britain's presidency of the G8 and the
EU this year. The increases were seized on by
opposition parties and environment groups as
evidence of the government's failure.
Tony Blair has made himself vulnerable because he
has made repeated claims to be a world leader on
climate change. Ten days ago the UK hosted a G8
meeting of environment and development ministers
to prepare for the G8 summit on the issue at
Gleneagles in Scotland in July.
In a speech on climate change to launch his
presidency of the G8, Mr Blair said: "To acquire
global leadership, on this issue Britain must
demonstrate it first at home _ We have led the
world in setting a bold plan and targets for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
Tim Yeo, shadow environment secretary, said:
"This is further indication that the government's
climate strategy is failing. Currently carbon
dioxide levels are only 4% below 1990 levels, and
emissions have increased since Labour came to
power by 3%.
Mike Childs, at Friends of the Earth, said the
increase in carbon dioxide emissions was
"Climate change is happening and has the
potential to cause untold human suffering and
catastrophic environmental damage."
Guardian Unlimited (c) Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005