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Emissions

Volume 201: debated on Friday 20 December 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the emissions in the years 1970 to 1979, 1980 to 1989 and 1990; and what are the projected figures for 1991 to 2005 for (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland for (i) industrial carbon dioxide, (ii) land use change carbon dioxide, (iii) non-agricultural methane and (iv) agricultural methane.

Emission estimates for carbon dioxide and methane, covering the preceding 10 years, are published annually in the "Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics", copies of which are placed in the Library of the House. Estimates for earlier years are available from Warren Spring laboratory which maintain the national emissions inventory on behalf of the Department. Data for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland separately and for carbon dioxide emissions due to land-use change are not available. Total emission estimates for the years 1970 to 1979 and 1980 to 1989 and for 1990 are as follows:

1970–791980–891990
Industrial CO21 (electricity supply, refineries and other industry)1,179967296
Non agricultural methane328·333·54
Agricultural methane311·911·74
1 Expressed as millions of tonnes of carbon emitted.
2 Provisional.
3 Expressed as millions of tonnes of methane emitted.
4 Not yet available.
Projections for carbon dioxide and methane emissions were set out in energy paper No. 58 "UK Country Study for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Response Strategies Working Group Energy and Industry Sub-Group", October 1989, copies of which are in the Library of the House. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secrtary of State for Energy to my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) on 6 December 1991,

Official Report, column 258, for the latest projections for CO2 emissions.

The Government have set a target, if other countries take similar action, of returning emissions of CO2 to 1990 levels by 2005 and is taking steps to reduce emissions of methane.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many discharges of chemicals into the Merseyside environment have been notified to his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list these and the toxic chemicals involved; if he will specify whether the discharges were into the air, water, or land; whether he will extend the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to ensure that annual levels of emissions are monitored and declared; and whether he will require disclosure of information about emissions to his Department.

Dangerous occurances involving uncontrolled or accidental releases of chemicals must be notified to the Health and Safety Executive. Individual authorised releases of chemicals are not notified to my Department. However, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Water Resources Act 1991 provide for monitoring information about releases to the environment which are reported to or obtained by the relevant enforcing authority or the National Rivers Authority to be placed in public registers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans his Department has to include information on historical emissions of the following greenhouse gases (a) industrial carbon dioxide, (b) land-use change carbon dioxide, (c) non-agricultural methane and (d) agricultural methane in his negotiations on the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development; and if he will make a statement.

Questions relating to past, present and future emissions of all greenhouse gases are included among the issues covered by the preparatory committee for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what methodology he uses when assessing net greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom in relation to gross emissions.

Net greenhouse gas emissions are not currently estimated for the United Kingdom on a routine basis. To do so will require the development of methods for quantitatively assessing activities, such as afforestation, which remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Work to develop such methods is proceeding within the Department's own research programme and internationally through the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.