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Television: Carbon Emissions

Volume 459: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect on carbon dioxide emissions of plasma television screens. (132227)

The Government's Market Transformation Programme (MTP) estimates that in 2005 63 million television (TV) sets were being used in UK homes. Approximately 90 per cent. of these were the traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) type and approximately 10 per cent. were flat screen plasma or LCD types. By 2010, we estimate that the total number of TVs will rise to around 67 million sets, of which approximately 50 per cent. will be CRTs, and approximately 40 per cent. LCD and plasma. The remaining 10 per cent. will be made up of rear-projection and yet-to-emerge technologies such as organic light-emitting diode and field-emission diode screens.

Our assessment, based on current trends, is that the energy consumed by all TVs could increase from around 10 Terra Watt Hours (TWh) of electricity (roughly 1.1 million tonnes of carbon) in 2005 to over 15 TWh of electricity (1.7 million tonnes of carbon) in 2010. Most of this potential increase in emissions is accounted for by a predicted significant rise in the average electricity consumption of each unit. This will be caused by the trend for consumers purchasing TVs with larger screens, including both plasma and LCD technologies, replacing their older and smaller CRT models, and a small increase in the total TV viewing hours and standby usage by households.

However, we believe there is a potential, through actions by manufacturers and retailers to bring forward and to promote TVs that are more energy efficient, so that the projected 2010 electricity consumption can be reduced by around 10 per cent.

The issue of increasing emissions from new generation television sets and the potential impact of emerging technologies was assessed in a report published for DEFRA in June 2005, entitled “An Assessment of Emerging Innovative Energy Efficient Technologies as part of the Energy Efficiency Innovation Review”.