Government figures show Britain will fail to meet its Kyoto obligations

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Figures published by the Department for Trade and Industry reveal carbon emissions from the power generation industry and heavy users of energy such as iron and steel, chemicals and glass manufacturers are likely to be far above the targets the UK has signed up to, both voluntarily and under the Kyoto Protocol.

The DTI's projections show carbon dioxide emissions from industry are likely to average at least 263 million tons and possibly as much as 270 million tons a year between 2008 and 2012. That compares with the 245 million tons UK industry is allowed to emit under the European Union's current emissions scheme.

A DTI spokeswoman said the UK's total carbon dioxide emissions, including the contribution from homes, cars and air travel, was now expected to total some 529 million tons by 2010.

That is 10.6 per cent below their level in 1990 - but compared with the Government's own target of a 20 per cent cut - or even the 12 per cent reduction required to meet Kyoto, they are not meeting requirements.

In 2004, the projection for total CO2 emissions in 2010 was 518 million tons, suggesting the UK is getting further and further away from meeting its targets.

The spokeswoman said the energy review being undertaken by the DTI and the Climate Change Programme Review - to be published by Defra in March - would set out how the Government proposed to close the gap and get back on target.

The DTI's estimates, contained in a consultation document published on its website, show annual CO2 emissions will average 262.9 million tons between 2008 and 2012 when the next phase of the EU carbon permits scheme comes into effect.

But that could increase by as much as 7.6 million tons depending on the extent to which industries such as petrochemicals, steel and gypsum continue to expand.

Under the EU scheme, countries are given permission to emit certain quantities of carbon. Beyond that, individual industries must buy permits to allow them to emit more.

When the scheme was first introduced in 2004, there was a huge row between the UK and Brussels that ended up in court after the Government applied for too low an allocation and then was refused the right to increase its carbon emissions.

The fall-out from the dispute was worst for the power generation industry which accounts for more than a half of the UK's industrial emissions of CO2.

David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said this time around officials appeared to have done their sums better. "The Government seems to have picked up on the concerns of the industry and have recognised the impact."