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Climate Change

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 20 February 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will offer a special annual award, either directly or through outside organisations or charities, for environmental and climate change work by both companies and individuals. [HL1769]

In February 2005, funding of £12 million for the period 2005-06 to 2007-08 was announced for the Climate Change Communications Initiative, with over £8 million of that being made available for Climate Challenge Fund projects.

An initial Government announcement was made in June 2006, that awards would be made to 53 projects under the fund (totalling £2.6 million in 2006-07 and £2.2 million in 2007-08). A further 28 projects were announced in September (totalling £3.5 million over 2006-07 and 2007-08).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will give further support to the PRECIS programme for climate change impact studies in Brazil and neighbouring countries; and which other countries can expect to receive support from the United Kingdom. [HL1770]

The PRECIS model is now used in numerous government and academic institutions around the world. The period 2004-05 saw a focus on collaboration among countries in neighbouring regions of the world. Such collaborations now exist in South America and south Asia and scientists are working towards a similar collaboration in central Asia.

Since 2003, PRECIS workshops have been held in the UK, Cuba, Bhutan, Brazil, India, Turkey, Argentina, Belize, Ghana and Malaysia. Over 220 researchers from over 50 countries have been trained through PRECIS workshops.

There is ongoing support for this process. Defra funds the development of the Hadley Centre's regional climate model and the Department for International Development funds the personal computer version of the Hadley Centre's regional climate model. Additionally, the United Nations development programme funds support for training materials relevant to PRECIS, for experts in developing countries.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many categories of the sources of greenhouse gases they track in their estimate of world greenhouse gas emissions; and what are their current estimates for the emissions of each category. [HL1839]

The Government do not make annual estimates of world greenhouse gas emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) publishes annually global emissions data for carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel consumption.

In 2004, the most recent year for which data are available from the IEA, the estimated emissions from this source were about 26.6 billion tonnes of CO2, including international shipping and aviation.

Detailed estimates for 2000 for all greenhouse gases by country and sector are collated by the World Resources Institute and published on its website.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many categories of carbon emissions from food production and preparation they track; and what are their current estimates for the emissions of each category. [HL1840]

The table below shows greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food production by category included in the UK GHG inventory for 2005, in million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is the most recent year for which data are available.

The data on emissions from fuel combustion include forestry operations and food production. Emissions from energy use by the food and drink industry (for example, emissions from the processing of raw ingredients into packaged, canned or frozen products), and emissions from the manufacture of fertilizer, are included in the inventory with industrial emissions, but these are not separately identified.

Emissions outside the UK from the production of food imported to the UK are excluded in the UK inventory. The emissions are reported in accordance with internationally agreed guidelines. Statistics for carbon dioxide (CO2) indicators for food transportation are available on the Defra website.

The most recent estimates show that CO2 emissions from food transport, including emissions from overseas transport, increased by 4 per cent between 2002 and 2004. The impacts of food transport are highly dependent on the mode of transport used: GHG emissions per tonne carried are much higher for air transport than for sea transport.

2005 emissions (million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)

Category

Carbon dioxide

Methane

Nitrous oxide

Total

Combustion of fossil fuels

Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing: Stationary combustion

0.48

0.04

0.51

Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing: Emissions from off-road machinery

3.96

0.48

4.44

Enteric fermentation and manure management

Cattle (enteric fermentation and manure management)

13.82

13.82

Sheep (enteric fermentation and manure management)

3.56

3.56

Other animals (enteric fermentation and manure management)

1.06

1.06

Manure management nitrous oxide emissions

1.32

1.32

Fertilizer use

Agricultural Soils

25.12

25.12

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

Cropland—changes in non-forest biomass due to yield improvements, and lowland drainage

0.55

0.55

Cropland and Grassland—application of lime

0.73

0.73

Land converted to cropland or grassland—changes to soil carbon and biomass stocks due to change of land use, and emissions from biomass burning from forest conversion

5.68

5.68

Total

56.80

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the carbon emissions from uncultivated land, swamps and bogs as parts of world emissions levels. [HL1841]

Natural processes on the land surface—that is, respiration by plants, soil microbes, animals, and fire—release approximately 440 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. However, this is more than compensated for by an even larger uptake of carbon by photosynthesis, which is enhanced at elevated carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. When this is taken into account, these processes give rise to a net sink of approximately 9.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. This acts to slow the rate of rise of atmospheric CO2 caused by emissions from fossil fuel combustion and changes in land use by humans, mainly deforestation.

If this sink—and a similar sink in the oceans—did not exist, the CO2 rise would be approximately twice as fast as currently observed. Identifying uncultivated land, swamps and bogs within this total is very uncertain but these land areas are probably responsible for most of the net sink. Natural wetlands are also a source of methane emissions amounting to some 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress they have made in their discussions with the insurance industry to secure changes in policy content to encourage adaptations to buildings for both private and corporate policyholders in response to climate change and other related issues. [HL1844]

The Defra-funded UK climate impacts programme (UKCIP) works with stakeholders to help them assess how they might be affected by climate change, so they can prepare for the impacts. UKCIP works with the insurance industry, particularly the Association of British Insurers, to build capacity to address the risks associated with climate change. For example, UKCIP has undertaken research, with the ABI as a major stakeholder, under a portfolio of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council projects called “Building knowledge for a changing climate”.

In addition to this, as part of its new flood management strategy—“Making space for water”— the Government are working with the ABI on a project that looks at what more can be done to encourage greater uptake of property-level flood protection measures and resilient repair of properties after a flood—both important adaptations for preparing the country's housing stock for the impacts of increased flood risk.