Friday, August 01, 2008

UK deluded over carbon emissions

The UK has for many years prided itself on its progressive policies and economic climate which has been conducive to carbon emissions cuts. However 2 recent reports have highlighted how such claims are based on restrictive calculations and exclude some of the largest culprits of carbon emissions, namely Aviation and shipping.

In addition, the manufacturing sector in many western countries has declined in favour of importing from low-cost countries and thus carbon emissions arrising from such sectors has been 'exported'. At the same time there has been rising levels of consumption with shorter life cycle of products which have increasingly been imported. Because this increasing proportion of imported goods is not subject to carbon emissions calculations by the importer, WWF and others maintain that the present means for calculating a countries carbon emissions is disingenuous.

Overall it means countries such as the UK , who claim to have made significant progress since Kyoto have made nowhere near the total emissions reductions they claim. The UK only in March had reported a 2% reduction on the previous year, on track to meet its 12.5% reduction by 2012 on 1990 levels. It has been suggested that emissions should be calculated for goods based on the country of consumption rather than production and this would in many ways turn carbon emissions calculations on its head. Such thinking certainly have implications for any post-kyoto deal and could improve the situation for developing countries in terms of their responsibility for carbon emissions.

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