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UK misled on emission cuts, committee says

The government's claims to have cut carbon emissions are in fact based on having moved them off the balance sheets, an influential group of MPs have said.

The Ministry of Defense claimed a big cut in emissions after it sold off agency QinetiQ, but the emissions were in fact just moved off the balance sheet to the private sector.

The government has now stopped claiming it as an emissions cut, but the Environmental Audit Committee has warned it not to make similar claims in the future.

Even without the QinetiQ emissions, the government's attempts to cut its emissions are considered lamentable by the committee and environmentalists alike.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the committee, said: "The degree of confusion within government as to how to make its offices carbon neutral by 2012, how much this will cost, and even how it will be defined and what it will measure, is wholly unsatisfactory.

Current government targets aim to reduce emissions from government offices by 12.5 per cent of 1999-2000 levels within the next three years, and to be carbon neutral by 2012.

But figures for 2006-07 show a reduction of only four per cent, lagging well behind the trajectory required to satisfy their targets.

Central government offices produce about 2.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year - about 0.4 per cent of the UK total. They also contribute 309,000 tonnes of waste.

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