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Carbon Emissions

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in UK carbon dioxide emissions between 2006 and 2007; what proportion of this was attributable to the Government's carbon tax and spend policies; and what the equivalent figures are, excluding emissions reductions achieved by purchases from overseas under carbon trading arrangements. (201491)

In 2007, UK emissions of the basket of six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto protocol were provisionally estimated to be 639.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. This was 2 per cent. lower than the 2006 figure of 652.3 million tonnes. In 2007, UK net emissions of carbon dioxide were provisionally estimated to be 543.7 million tonnes. This was 2 per cent. lower than the 2006 figure of 554.5 million tonnes.

The decrease resulted from fuel switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, combined with lower fossil fuel consumption by households and industry. Details of the Government's policies and their expected impact on emissions is set out in the Energy White Paper published in May 2007. Details of the impact of fiscal measuresintroduced by the Government are outlined in PBR and Budget documents, and were summarised in table 6.2 of Budget 2008.

The Government see emissions trading as one of the most powerful tools available to tackle climate change in a cost-effective manner. These figures do not include the effect of emissions trading, as 2007 EU Emissions Trading Scheme results will not be available until May 2008. However, figures for 2006 show that, including the impact of emissions trading through the EU ETS, UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 were 20.7 per cent. below the 1990 level.