UK accused over greenhouse gases

Britain's CO2 emissions are increasing, contrary to government claims, according to two new reports.

They show that instead of falling since the 1990s, as ministers claim, Britain's greenhouse gas emissions have been growing in line with the economy. The Government does not count emissions from shipping, aviation or imported goods in its internationally-agreed system for carbon accounts.

But two reports from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), based at the University of York, say that if these key drivers of emissions are counted, Britain's carbon emissions are rising.

An SEI report to be published soon by the campaign group WWF will suggest that the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions are 49 per cent higher than reported. And a recent report by the SEI for the government department Defra showed that rather than going down by 5 per cent, as ministers claimed, CO2 emissions have gone up 18 per cent between 1992 and 2004 when all emissions are counted.

The Government received the Defra-SEI report in February, but chose to test its calculations before publishing it in an obscure press release on 2 July, in the run-up to the parliamentary summer recess.

The Environment minister Phil Woolas said: "I think it's very misleading to say these figures challenge our [the Government's] figures; they are a different calculation altogether."

But Stuart Bond, WWF's head of research, said: "This shows our claims on emissions are simply a big lie."