Big freeze and nuclear plant shut-downs behind 2010 emissions increase

Posted on 13 Feb 2012

Emissions of greenhouse gases have increased in the UK, according to figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

In 2010 they were estimated to be 590.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) – a 3.1% increase on 2009 figures.

Increases in emissions have been reported in the residential sector (+16%) and in the energy supply sector (+3%). The big freeze that took place between 2009 and 2010 and the shutting down of some nuclear plants are respectively the reasons behind these figures.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said: “Emissions were up in 2010 because of the exceptionally cold weather and greater use of fossil fuels. One year won’t knock the UK off meeting its long term emission reduction targets, but it serves to underline the importance of the Coalition’s policies for insulating homes to cut bills and emissions and moving to greener alternative forms of energy.”

According to the report, carbon dioxide represented about 84% of the UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 (39% of carbon dioxide emissions coming from the energy supply sector, 22% from road transport, 17% from the residential sector and 15% from business).

Emissions from industrial processes are also up slightly, by 5%, although this sector is relatively small in absolute terms.

Commenting on today’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions data, EEF head of climate and environment policy Gareth Stace said: “These figure highlight the continuing contribution industry is making to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But, it also points to  the need for a more concerted drive to reduce emissions right across the economy, In particular, manufacturers can provide the solutions to help hard-pressed households reduce their emissions and energy bills. The government must therefore ensure that, through initiatives such  as the green deal and support from the green investment bank, that it has the framework to achieve this.”