The government of the United Kingdom have boasted that in the past twenty years the UK has cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 25%. The government is very good at boasting boasters are invariably liars. The government has form when it comes to boasting about the environment and its measures on greenhouse gas reduction. It boasted that the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme would reduce emissions. It has done nothing of the kind, with the price of carbon (a commodity that no one want) being at levels throughout the EU ETS operation which would not entice a major polluter to find ways of reducing its pollution. It has boasted for five years to have the world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive. In fact the RHI is still in the design stage for its most important aspect and has been promised “next year” for each of the past five years. The latest date promised is March 2014, but I do not believe that promise.
Of course emissions actually produced in the UK have fallen since 1992. About twenty of the UK’s power stations that burn coal have closed from 1992 onwards and have been replaced with natural gas, which produced about 35% fewer emissions per kWh of electricity produced. Some of our heavy industry has closed since 1992, and that causes there to be less demand on energy and therefore fewer emissions. Fewer goods that are bought by consumers are made in the United Kingdom; the mass garment manufacturing industry has been virtually decimated since 1992; garments are imported from foreign parts these days.
Goods made abroad and consumed in the UK produce emissions, often far more emissions than if they were made in the UK because, for example, goods made in China are usually made with power that comes from coal, that heavy emission producer. When these “embedded emissions” are taken into account it is thought by the Climate Change Committee, independent, (a statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008 is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change) that emissions have actually increased by 10% since 1992, which makes sense having regard to the largely ineffectual climate change measures that the government has taken since 1992.
A more telling statistic would be the emission production since 2010; these are actually increasing ( see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/175659/ghg_national_statistics_release_2012_provisional.pdf) according the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s statistics. That is the most damning evidence of the failure of climate change measures by the United Kingdom.
We cannot blame China or India for emissions they produce to our order. The overall emission statistics is what really counts; we are one world with one atmosphere and the sooner the UK government recognises this unpalatable fact the better. Boasting will not help us fight our rapidly changing climate.
Filed under: carbon dioxide, carbon emissions, climate change, energy, global warming Tagged: | embedded emissions, emission reduction, emissions in UK, emissions in UK since 1992, emissions trading, EU ETS, renewable heat incentive, RHI