Industry has made great progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. But, as Lord Marshall’s report on business use of energy points out, projections show there is a lot to do to hit the UK’s legally binding Kyoto summit target to cut emissions by 12.5% from 1990 levels by 2008.
An extra 5 million tonnes of carbon reductions will have to be made. The Government’s domestic goal of a 20% cut in carbon dioxide equals a cut of 29 million tonnes of carbon by 2010.
Cuts will be needed from all sectors. Domestic and industrial use and road transport emissions each now contribute between 20 30%.
Cars represent the lion’s share of road transport carbon dioxide emissions, at around a seventh of the total. Quarterly AA figures show the statistic staying at or above 1990 levels, with a tendency to rise in summer when car use increases. This backs the argument for encouraging car users to switch to public transport.
Energy prices, meanwhile, remain low. Oil prices are below pre-1973 energy crisis levels. For the UK oil industry to stay competitive, the Crine Network has shown how it plans to reduce the production cost of North Sea oil from $12 to $8 a barrel. Savings should come from new technologies and supply chain efficiencies.