PM told to ‘get serious’ about meeting climate pledge, despite emissions decreasing

The prime minister has been told to “get serious” about meeting the country’s international climate pledges, despite figures showing UK estimated greenhouse gas emissions are decreasing.

Figures released by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero show that in 2023 net territorial greenhouse gas emissions were provisionally estimated to be at 384.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, a decrease of 5.4% from 2022.

Territorial emissions include those occurring within the UK’s borders and are used to track UK-wide progress towards international and domestic targets.

Carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 6.6%, to 302.8 million tonnes, in the same period.

The government said the decrease is primarily due to a reduction in demand from the electricity supply, buildings and product use sectors.

Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity supply fell by 19.6%, while emissions from buildings and product use fell by 6.2%. High energy prices are likely to have been a factor in reduced gas use for heating buildings.

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National Infrastructure Commission chair Sir John Armitt has told chancellor Jeremy Hunt that the government needs to “move faster” on decarbonisation measures.

Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “Any fall in UK emissions is much needed, but let’s not fool ourselves that we’re on track to meet our international obligations or our legal carbon budgets by 2030.

“Emissions from buildings and transport remain stubbornly high and the government doesn’t have policy in place yet to deliver the cuts needed for the planet or to uphold our international promises.

“Sunak needs to get serious about insulation, heat pumps and public transport, and must rapidly scale up the roll out of renewables and the electrification of vehicles to get us on track.”

Campaigner Chris Packham has been given permission for a judicial review in the High Court challenging the government’s decision to U-turn on some of its green polices.
Climate crisisEnergyNature and the environmentNet zeroNewsPolicy

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