UK greenhouse gas emissions up 2.8 per cent

Britain's greenhouse gas emissions up 2.8 per cent figures show

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.8 per cent last year, according to provisional official figures.

Carbon dioxide, which accounts for around 84 per cent of the UK’s emissions, was up 3.8 per cent last year, the data released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed. Overall, emissions of the six major greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide were up 2.8 per cent on 2009.

The increase in emissions comes after 2009 saw large falls in greenhouse gases as a result of the recession hitting industry and energy use.

Last year’s rise was due to an increase in gas use to heat homes driven by the cold weather, which saw the UK begin 2010 gripped by the coldest winter for decades and then hit by days of sub-zero temperatures in the run-up to Christmas.

Carbon dioxide emissions from homes, which relate only to heating and cooking with gas, rose by 13.4 per cent in 2010, the figures showed.

The rise was also driven by a switch from nuclear power to coal and gas for electricity generation.

The provisional statistics showed most of the hike was down to increased heating in homes, with small rises in emissions as a result of electricity generation (3.3 per cent) and the business sector (2.4 per cent).

According to DECC, residential emissions are heavily driven by temperature and 2010 was the coldest year since 1986 on average. The first three months of the year were the coldest since 1987 and the last three months the coldest since 1970.

The switch from nuclear to gas and coal which drove some of the increase was the result of technical problems at some nuclear power stations.

Since 1990, the baseline year for cutting emissions, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions have reduced from 778.3 million tonnes to 582.4 million tonnes a year - a drop of around 25 per cent.

Carbon dioxide levels have reduced from 589.7 million tonnes in 1990 to the provisional figure of 491.7 million tonnes last year, a fall of around 16.5 per cent.

Falls in CO2 have been led by a reduction in emissions from energy supply, largely as a result of a switch from coal to gas, and from business.

But emissions from heating homes have increased by eight per cent in the past two decades, while transport emissions have also increased slightly.

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