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  • Published: Oct 31st, 2009
  • Category: UK
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UK’s CO2 emission ‘peaked’

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London – Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions are on a downward trend to 2020 but the government is not on track to meet its domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets, a study by Cambridge Econometrics showed on Tuesday.

As a climate change summit in Copenhagen this December draws closer, world leaders are still haggling over their emissions cut commitments. But some progress has been made in curbing global warming, mainly due to the recession and higher fuel prices.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that global emissions will fall by about 2,6 percent this year.

Surprisingly, US emissions are expected to drop 6 percent to their lowest level since 1999, according to the World Resources Institute.

The recession will help reduce Britain’s emissions by a total of around 7 percent in 2009 and 2010, due to less energy use from falling industrial activity and more gas use than coal in the power sector, economic forecasting group Cambridge Econometrics said.

But the recession will only have a short-term impact.

From 2010 to 2020, emissions will go down at a slower rate of 0,75 percent a year but they will not return to the higher levels of recent history, enabling Britain to “easily” meet its goal under the Kyoto Protocol of 12.5 percent cuts from 1990 levels, the study forecast.

But the UK government is likely to miss its legally binding domestic goals of cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2010 and by 34 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

“Over the long term, the current and firmly announced policies are not enough to bring emissions within the target budget,” said Paul Elkins, co-editor of the report.

Britain will not meet its own renewable electricity targets for 2010 and 2020, nor an EU-wide target of a 15 percent share of renewable energy in total energy consumption by 2020.

Britain will need to buy around 20 million carbon permits a year from 2018 to 2022 as it fails to keep below EU caps because of its lack of renewable energy and new nuclear capacity, the group forecast. – Reuters

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