UK greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.8 pct in 2010

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2011 8:21 AM
UK greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.8 pct in 2010

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.8 percent in 2010 due to an increase in power generation, provisional data published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed on Thursday.

In 2010, UK emissions were provisionally estimated at 582.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to 566.3 million tonnes in 2009.

Under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, the UK has to cut emissions 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012. Britain also has its own, longer-term, aim of reducing emissions by 34 percent by 2020.

Carbon dioxide accounted for around 84 percent of the total, and was up 3.8 percent from 2009. This represents the first year-on-year rise in carbon dioxide since 2005.

"The increase in CO2 emissions between 2009 and 2010 resulted primarily from a rise in residential gas use, combined with fuel switching away from nuclear power to coal and gas for electricity generation," DECC said.

Emissions from electricity generation rose by 4 percent last year to 156.2 million tonnes.

The sector accounted for a third of all CO2 emissions, the provisional estimates showed.

In 2010, an estimated 39 percent of the country's CO2 emissions were from the energy supply sector, 25 per cent from transport, 17 per cent from residential fossil fuel use and 16 per cent from business, the report said.

"Our economy is as dangerously hooked on fossil fuels as it was twenty years ago -- so emissions are bound to rise as the economy picks up," said Friends of the Earth Executive Director Andy Atkins.

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

On Friday, the EU Commission will release data on 2010 emissions from European firms in its emissions trading scheme.

In a separate statement, DECC said UK energy production fell 5.8 per cent in 2010 to 157.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

Electricity from coal-fired power plants rose 3.9 per cent in 2010 to 103.2 terawatt hours (TWh).

Supply from gas-fired power stations rose 5.6 per cent to 171.5 TWh, while renewable production edged up 0.1 per cent to 25 TWh. Nuclear supply fell 10.1 per cent to 56.4 TWh.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Keiron Henderson)