Huhne says emissions drop is ‘no time for back-slapping’

Statistics released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reveal a drop in the UK’s greenhouse-gas emissions for 2009.

In 2009, UK emissions of the so-called ’basket’ of six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol were estimated to be 566.3 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e).

This was 8.7 per cent lower than the 2008 figure of 620.5 million tonnes (Mt).

Between 2008 and 2009, there were decreases in emissions in all sectors, including 11 per cent (24.2 MtCO2e) from the energy-supply sector; 11.8 per cent (11.5 MtCO2e) from the business sector; 36.5 per cent (6 MtCO2e) from industrial processes; 4.2 per cent (5.4 MtCO2e) from the transport sector; and 5.8 per cent (4.8 MtCO2e) in the residential sector.

Carbon dioxide accounted for approximately 84 per cent of total UK greenhouse-gas emissions in 2009. In 2009, UK net emissions of carbon dioxide were estimated to be 473.7Mt.

According to DECC, this was around 9.8 per cent lower than the 2008 figure of 525.1Mt. There were decreases in emissions of 11.5 per cent (24.1Mt) from the energy-supply sector; 13.1 per cent (11.5Mt) from the business sector; 4.2 per cent (5.2Mt) from the transport sector; and 5.9 per cent (4.7Mt) from the residential sector.

DECC said the overall decrease in emissions is primarily the result of two factors: a significant fall in energy consumption across all sectors and an increase in the use of nuclear power rather than coal and natural gas for electricity generation.

When the UK economy contracted during 2009, it resulted in an overall reduction in demand for electricity, together with lower fossil-fuel consumption by businesses and households.

Chris Huhne, energy and climate-change secretary, said: ‘Yes, emissions were down in 2009 but so was the economy, so this is no time for back-slapping.

‘A low-carbon approach has to be a vital part of kick starting and future proofing our economy, getting us off the oil hook and onto long-term green growth.

‘That’s why we’re wasting no time in reforming the electricity market, setting up the Green Investment Bank and legislating for the Green Deal.’