Skip to main content

Carbon Emissions

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government have taken to date to try to reach the UK target of a 20 per cent. reduction in carbon emissions by 2010 compared with 1990; and what further steps it intends to take. (142112)

The UK Climate Change programme, revised in 2006, sets out the Government’s policies and measures to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions up to 2010. The target to reduce emissions to 20 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010 was always designed to be stretching and as we have acknowledged, it looks increasingly difficult to achieve.

Our latest projections, published in the recent Energy White Paper, suggest that our CO2 emissions, including the impact of the EU Emissions Trading scheme, could fall to about 16 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010. This would represent definite progress towards the domestic target. It would also mean that we had reduced our emissions of the basket of greenhouse gases to more than 23 per cent. below base year levels, a percentage reduction almost double what we are required to achieve under the Kyoto protocol.

However, it does show why we need to do much more to reduce emissions. The long-term framework that the Climate Change Bill will provide, and the new measures announced in the Energy White Paper, which will further reduce emissions up to 2020, are therefore essential.

If every household, business and community took measures to reduce their CO2 emissions by reducing energy used in the home and in buildings, and by changing how journeys are made, we could still make further progress towards our 2010 target. The Government are continuing to encourage and enable those choices and changes in behaviour through initiatives such as the “Act on CO2” campaign, and by funding the work of the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust.