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UK carbon emissions
millions of tonnes of carbon emitted per year (MtC/yr)
Source:Department of Trade and Industry
Year MtC/yr
1990 161.5
1991 163.3
1992 158.7
1993 154.6
1994 152.5
1995 149.9
1996 155.8
1997 149.6
1998 150.0
1999 147.5
2000 149.7
2001 152.6
2002 148.2
2003 151.4
2004 151.3
2005 151.1
2006 152.9 (provisional)
2010 target 129.2 (20% below 1997 level)

Provisional 2006 estimate Edit

The provisional estimate (published 29 March 2007) of 2006 carbon dioxide emissions is around 1¼ per cent higher than the 2005 figure.

Note on the table data Edit

Emissions data are expressed in terms of millions of tonnes of carbon emitted per year (MtC/yr); they can be converted to million tonnes of carbon dioxide by multiplying by the relative molecular weights (44/12). Provisional estimates of carbon dioxide emissions will be subject to revision when final estimates are published in 2008. The majority of provisional estimates are within 1% of the final figures.

Reaction to the latest figures Edit

Friends of the Earth point out that UK carbon dioxide emissions are now (March 2007) higher than they have ever been since Labour came to power. They say "the figures demonstrate the continuing failure of ministers to tackle climate change and highlight the need for the Government's proposed new climate change law to require annual cuts in UK carbon dioxide emissions of at least three per cent. A public consultation on what the new climate law should contain ends in June. The Government is even further away from keeping its repeated promise (in three general election manifestos) to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20 % of 1990 levels by 2010."

FoE also say, "Today's figures do not include emissions from the UK's share of international aviation and shipping, which are rising even faster. Government figures released in January revealed that between 2004 and 2005, Carbon dioxide emissions from international aviation emissions increased by 5.7 %, due to an increased number of flights. Between 1990 and 2005, emissions from aviation fuel use more than doubled."

Environment Secretary David Miliband said that, while the 1¼% increase in 2006 was due mainly to unusually high international gas prices leading to a switch to coal in electricity generation, the statistics demonstrated the clear need for continued action by all levels of government, business, and individuals.

Mr Miliband also pointed out that the figures do not include the effect of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. According to Defra, adjusted for emission trading, UK CO2 emissions in 2005 were about 527 million tonnes. A comparable figure from the above trend series would appear to be 554 (151.1 x 44/12).

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