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UK’s ‘real’ CO2 emissions far higher than reported

8th August, 2008

A report by Stockholm Institute on UK’s carbon emissions, commissioned from the Stockholm Institute by DEFRA, reported on national news on 1st August. The report shows that a misleadingly rosy picture is being painted of Britain’s emissions.

While emissions we report to UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) fell by 5% between 1992 and 2004, emissions attributable to the UK actually increased by 18%.

‘Consumer emissions’ (CE) are significantly higher than ‘producer emissions’ (PE) or the UNFCCC national total. In 2004, CE are 132 Mt or 21% higher than PE and over 200 Mt or 37% higher than the national total reported to the UNFCCC.

The differences are due to, among others, international aviation being omitted from the UNFCCC returns.

Another major factor is increasing imports of goods whose manufacture generate much CO2. (Under UNFCC convention, such goods are counted against the country of manufacture instead of the country of consumption).

For graph showing the diverging trend and more information about the report see short summary and graph.