Carbon Omissions

Official statistics claim that UK emissions have fallen. But they haven’t: when you account for the carbon in our imports, they’ve gone up by 20% in twenty years – and are set to rise further. The Government is staying quiet about these outsourced emissions – after all, it’s failed to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of UK consumption. PIRC wants this to change, and our ongoing investigation is detailed on these pages.

Why won’t the Government investigate its carbon omissions?

This piece was originally published on Left Foot Forward.

It is the received wisdom that the UK’s emissions are falling. But this is not the case. As academic studies and government briefings show, the UK’s emissions continue to rise, once you factor in the impacts of the goods and services we import from overseas. As we have outsourced industry, so we have outsourced a large part of our contribution to climate change.

In Parliament yesterday, climate change minister Greg Barker became the latest Minister to fail to understand the size of this problem.

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The UK isn't reducing emissions; we’re outsourcing them

This piece by Guy Shrubsole originally appeared on openDemocracy.

“One of the easiest ways for the United Kingdom to meet its carbon reduction targets,” stated the Liberal Democract peer Lord Teverson in 2010, “is to send offshore even more of its manufacturing and high-carbon-based industry.”

Teverson’s words were intended as a warning rather than a recommendation. But it appears the Government has been following such advice for the past twenty years – because it’s exactly what’s been happening.

As the graph below illustrates, UK emissions as they’re ‘officially’ recorded by Government have been going down. But real UK emissions – the total once you factor in emissions embedded in the goods we consume from overseas – continue to rise.

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The UK must own up to the full scale of its emissions problem

This piece by Alex Randall and Guy Shrubsole was originally published on Guardian Comment is Free.

Last week the Guardian reported that the UK”s carbon emissions have dropped. In fact they”ve gone up. New material released under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) reveals that the government knows this, but is actively deciding to do nothing.

Recent reports show that the UK”s emissions have risen once our consumption of imported goods and services are factored in. We can now reveal that civil servants, too, have been briefing ministers on this very fact – but that they have failed to do anything about it.

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What are the UK's 'actual' emissions?

UPDATEDieter Helm has published an excellent report attempting to answer this question, called "Too good to be true? The UK”s Climate Change Record, download it here.

The ESRC”s Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment (RESOLVE) has just published an important initial analysis of the UK”s carbon footprint based on final consumption. From our research on CAT”s Zero Carbon Britain project we”re very aware that further research in this field is casino online sorely needed.

Abstract

The UK Climate Change Bill proposes to establish legally binding targets for a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. This paper discusses the challenges posed by measuring progress towards this target. It takes as a premise that the conventional production-based accounting framework, enshrined in the UNFCCC emissions accounting guidelines, is inappropriate for this task because it fails to account for the carbon