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Carbon emissions down, excluding aviation and shipping

Official emissions down 1.5 per cent in 2007 on 2006, but key sectors not included in calculations

The government yesterday released the official CO2 emissions figures for 2007 which show a 1.5 per cent reduction on 2006 with a 1.7 per cent reduction in total emissions.

Campaign groups took issue with the figures, saying that they were misleading because they did not include shipping and aviation figures despite the fact that these industries are included in recently agreed emissions-reduction targets of 80 per cent by 2050.

The figures also do not count any carbon emitted that has been offset through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Friends of the Earth, which lobbied hard for the long-term targets, said shipping and aviation should be included in all calculations from now on.

"The figures distort the picture by failing to include the UK's share of international shipping and aviation emissions. The reality is that UK carbon dioxide emissions are still higher than when Labour came to power in 1997, despite repeated promises of significant cuts," said climate campaigner Robin Webster.

Under the guidelines agreed with the UN, reporting emissions from international aviation and shipping are not included in the UK's emissions total.

Despite this, the UK is required to act to limit or reduce emissions from shipping and aviation as best it can, and must estimate the emissions of these industries as an annex to its reports.

Between 2006 and 2007, emissions from international aviation fuel use decreased by 1.9 per cent, although between 1990 and 2007 the level of these emissions has more than doubled.

Emissions from domestic aviation decreased by 6.6 per cent in 2007 on 2006 figures.

Between 1990 and 1998 emissions from UK shipping bunkers increased by around a third. Since 1998 there has been a decrease of 23 per cent in emissions from UK shipping bunkers, although there was a 1.5 per cent increase from 2006 to 2007. However, UK operators purchase most of their fuel outside the UK.

In other sectors there were decreases in emissions of 1.8 per cent from the energy supply sector, 4.6 per cent from the residential sector, and 2.6 per cent from the business sector.

But there were increases in emissions by one per cent in the transport sector and 9.5 per cent from industrial processes.

In its three successful general election campaigns, Labour has made manifesto commitments to cutting UK carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by 2010. So far, UK net emissions of carbon dioxide were 12.8 per cent lower in 2007 than in 1990, down from 592.9m to 516.9m tonnes.

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