Britain to miss targets on cutting greenhouse gases

A A A

Britain looks likely to miss a key target in the fight against global warming by a wide margin, the Government was forced to admit yesterday.

Britain looks likely to miss a key target in the fight against global warming by a wide margin, the Government was forced to admit yesterday.

In an announcement which does nothing for his credibility as a self-proclaimed world leader on the climate-change issue, Tony Blair disclosed that forthcoming British cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide (C02), the principal greenhouse gas, would fall well short of the amount promised by Labour in opposition and in office.

By 2010, he said, the UK would achieve only a 14 per cent cut in emissions of CO2 from 1990 levels. This compares with a planned reduction of 20 per cent set in 1994 by the Labour Party, which has since appeared in its election manifestos.

Britain is on course to meet its official, legally binding, target under the Kyoto protocol, the international climate treaty, of cutting emissions of six greenhouse gases by 12.5 per cent by 2010; but the more ambitious target it set itself looks doubtful.

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, asked Mr Blairat Prime Minister's Questions yesterday: "How do you expect the British public to have faith in your ambition to lead the industrialised world, including President Bush, in tackling the climate change issue successfully?" He said Mr Blair "talked a good game" but was failing to deliver.

Tony Juniper, the executive director of Friends of the Earth, said the Government had to make significant cuts in UK C02 emissions if Mr Blair really wanted to lead the world on climate change. "Replacing old, inefficient coal-powered stations with cleaner alternatives, introducing economic incentives to encourage energy efficiency and encouraging less polluting transport options are desperately needed measures," he said. "Unless radical action is taken, we will all pay the price." Mr Blair insisted that urgent measures were being taken to try to make up lost ground, and he did not accept the target could not be met.

He said the country should be "proud" to be one of the few in the world to meet its international climate change obligations under the Kyoto Treaty.

"We set a target of 20 per cent; we are on track to get to 14 per cent. We have years to go before we have to meet that target. We do not accept we won't meet it," he said. "We've got more to do, but we are taking the measures necessary to do it."

Yesterday, a full-scale review of the UK climate change programme, the measures first set out in 2000 to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, was initiated by the Government.

WHY CO2 EMISSIONS HAVE NOT BEEN FALLING FASTER

POWER GENERATION

With the liberalisation of the energy market, suppliers can buy their energy from wherever they want - invariably the cheapest source. As global demand for gas has forced the gas price up, generators have been switching back to burning coal - which is cheaper, but produces more CO2.

TRANSPORT

The uptake of energy-efficient cars in Britain has been far less than was hoped, not least because of the stubborn fad for gas-guzzling four-wheel drive vehicles. The boom in cheap air travel has contributed to growing CO2 emissions from aircraft.

THE DOMESTIC SECTOR

More and more people have more and more power-eating electronic devices in their homes, from DVD players to broadband internet connections. And the number of single-person households is soaring - all with domestic appliances.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrator / Warehouse Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fast-paced award winning company based in...

Recruitment Genius: General Manager

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of global logisti...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager - £70,000 OTE

£35000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager (Vice President...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Marketing Executive i...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable