Climate News - Autumn 2005

The final message on climate change from the G8 was disappointing – but not entirely surprising. Both the communiqué and the action plan are mostly revised statements of the countries’ past positions. We were successful in cutting through the spin from the White House and No. 10, to ensure balanced reporting. The US Administration had in fact weakened earlier drafts of the communiqué, so that it offered nothing new, with no commitment to firm action agreed. This is despite many states taking action to reduce their emissions, with over 150 city mayors adopting
Kyoto-style reduction targets. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, has asked for Governments everywhere to tackle climate change.

New figures show that UK carbon dioxide emissions are set to rise again this year, despite the Government's commitment to taking action to tackle climate change. Government figures show that UK emissions of carbon dioxide for the first five months of this year are almost two per cent higher than last year. If the trend continues, the UK's contribution to climate change for 2005 could be the worst since 1992.

Using the latest figures released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Friends of the Earth has calculated that carbon dioxide emissions from January to May increased by 1.79 per cent. Using the Government's weather-adjusted figures, emissions in fact rose by 2.52 per cent.
Even at the lower rise of 1.79 per cent, carbon emissions for the year as a whole look set to increase to 161.2 MtC (mega tonnes of carbon) - an increase of 4.7 per cent since Labour came to power. The Government has said it will cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2010 but emissions have now risen for the last four years.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to introduce new legislation to create a framework for cutting carbon dioxide emissions year-on-year, with government departments set clear targets for the cuts they must achieve. The call is part of Friends of the Earth's climate change campaign.