Updated: DECC confirms CO2 rises across UK

24th August 2012


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Carbon dioxide emissions rose in 97% of the UK's local authorities during 2010 as CO2 output from businesses increased by more than 4%, according to the latest figures from DECC

Annual statistics detailing the amount of CO2 generated by the UK’s 406 local authorities confirm that total emissions increased by 4.2% in 2010, after falling more than 10% in 2009 as a result of significant drops in both industrial and domestic energy use.

In 2010, however, all authorities saw a rise in emissions from homes – with CO2 levels increasing by 7.4% – and 90% saw a rise in output from businesses. Emissions from transport remained static.

Dramatic increases in gas consumption by both industry and homeowners resulted in the largest increases in CO2, according to the energy department. Its figures confirm that emissions generated by firms’ gas use rose by 15% in 2010 to the highest rate seen since 2006. In total, industry and the commercial sector were responsible for 43% of emissions.

The devolved administrations saw greater increases in carbon output than England, with total emissions up 5.3% in Northern Ireland, 7.5% in Scotland and 13.9% in Wales. Despite these increases emissions remained below that of 2008.

Wales saw the biggest growth in carbon from the industrial and commercial sector, with CO2 levels rising by 16.9% since 2009, followed by the Yorkshire and Humber region had which saw a rise of 10.4%.

The North East region of England was the only area to see emissions fall, with carbon output from industry dropping 19.7% in 2010, following a 13.2% cut in emissions in 2009.

Overall, emissions from the UK’s local authorities in 2010 were 6.6% below those seen in 2008.

Provisional figures for 2011, published by DECC in March, indicated that carbon emissions fell by 8%, bringing the UK back in line with its longer-term downward trend.

As CO2 emissions from towns in the UK rose, the European Commission has revealed that sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels in EU ports dropped by an average of 66%, thanks to tougher restrictions on the amount of sulphur contained in ship fuel.

An amendment to Directive 1999/32/EC, which came into force in January 2010, stipulates that all ships berthed in EU harbours must use fuels containing less than 0.1% of sulphur, where previously fuels with up to 4.5% sulphur were allowed.

Air-quality monitoring in Mediterranean ports during 2009 and 2010 confirmed that concentrations of SO2 fell by two-thirds year on year.

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