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DECC emissions figures show domestic CO2 still rising
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The Department of Energy and Climate Change has released the final estimates of 2008 greenhouse gas emissions. In total, there was a reduction of 1.9 per cent over the 2007 figures. Housing, however, was the one area where emissions went up - they rose by 3.1 per cent (2.5 million tonnes of CO2). There were decreases in emissions of 2.9 per cent (6.5 MtCO2e) from the energy supply sector, 3.0 per cent (4.1 MtCO2e) from the transport sector, 2.6 per cent (2.6 MtCO2e) from the business sector, and 7.3 per cent (1.3 MtCO2e) from industrial processes.
DECC emissions figures show domestic CO2 still rising

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, accounting for about 85 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2008. In 2008, UK net emissions of carbon dioxide were estimated to be 532.8 million tonnes (Mt). This was around 2.0 per cent lower than the 2007 figure of 543.6 (Mt). There were decreases in emissions of 2.9 per cent (6.3 Mt) from the energy supply sector, 2.9 per cent (3.9 Mt) from the transport sector, and 3.0 per cent (2.7 Mt) from the business sector. However, there was an increase of 3.2 per cent (2.5 Mt) in emissions from the residential sector.

The overall decrease in emissions has primarily resulted from continued fuel switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, combined with lower fossil fuel consumption by industry and in the road transport sector. All the sectoral breakdowns are based on the source of the emissions, as opposed to where the end-user activity occurred. Emissions related to electricity generation are therefore attributed to power stations, the source of these emissions, rather than homes and businesses where electricity is used, so the increase in residential emissions is due to increased use of fossil fuels for domestic heating.

There is some good news - methane production has dropped by 53 per cent since 1990, although when weighted by global warming potential, methane only accounted for about 8 per cent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions in 2008. The main sources of methane were landfill sites (41 per cent of the total) and agriculture (38 per cent).

Emissions from landfill have reduced by 59 per cent and emissions from agriculture by 18 per cent since 1990.

Carbon dioxide accounted for about 85 per cent of the UKs man-made greenhouse gas emissions in 2008.

In 2008, 39 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions were from the energy supply sector, 22 per cent from road transport, 16 per cent from business and 15 per cent from residential fossil fuel use. Since 1990, emissions from road transport have increased by 7 per cent, while emissions from the energy supply industry have reduced by 14 per cent and business emissions have reduced by 21 per cent.

Since 2007, emissions from road transport have reduced by 4 per cent. Emissions from energy supply and business have both fallen by 3 per cent. However emissions from residential fossil fuel use have risen by 3 per cent.

Keith Hall, Editor of Green Building magazine, commenting on the figures, said " Its hard to believe that the building regulations have been updated to achieve greater energy efficiency, that insulation schemes are in place all over the country and that it's only 6 years until all new homes will have to be 'zero-carbon', yet the amount of fossil fuel use in homes is still rising. Clearly, far, far more needs to be done if we are to make the cuts in CO2 emissions from housing which are needed, and fast".



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