ECC report: ‘we need to tackle the carbon problem, not shift it abroad’


A report published by the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) has called on Government to be more straightforward about the impact that UK consumption is having on the world’s climate.

 The report finds that “there is a clear divergence between the UK’s territorial emissions and its consumption-based emissions.” Whilst DECC figures show that the UK’s territorial emissions have been going down, consumption-based emissions, overall, have been going up. The result of which means that the UK is a net contributor to global emissions, contrary to DECC’s claims.

The MPs behind the report want DECC to be more straightforward about the impact that UK consumption has on the world’s climate. Tim Yeo MP, Chairman of the ECC, said: “Successive governments have claimed to be cutting climate-changing emissions, but in fact a lot of pollution has simply been outsourced overseas.”

“DECC likes to argue that the UK is only responsible for two percent of the world’s CO2 emissions, but
Government’s own research shows this not to be the case. We get through more consumer goods than ever before in the UK and this is pushing up emissions in manufacturing countries like China.”

DECC’s official CO2 figures, based on territorial emissions within UK borders, show a 20 percent reduction between 1990 –2009. However, research commissioned by the Department for the environment Food and Rural Affairs, shows that, when consumption based emissions from imported goods are included, the UK’s CO2 emissions were actually 20 percent higher in 2009.

The report also claims that the fall in territorial emissions was not due to Government’s environmental policy but the result of a shift in manufacturing industries away from the UK, coupled with the switch to gas-fired electricity generation after the privatisation of the energy companies.

Since 1990, CO2 emissions from imports have almost doubled from 166,000,000 tonnes of CO2 to 331,000,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2009.

The full report can be found here.