UK industry cuts CO2 emissions by well over target
About 5,000 UK companies cut the amount of CO2 they produce by 13.5 million tonnes last year under the Climate Change Agreements (CCA) scheme, the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said in a statement.
"The results of our agreements demonstrated real gains in energy efficiency, achieved in a cost-effective way," Sustainable Energy Minister Lord Whitty said.
Under the CCA programme UK companies risk a hefty tax on energy use if they miss targets to cut CO2, largely blamed for global warming.
The cut was about 10 million tonnes above the 3.5 million target set under the programme for 2002 and DEFRA said most of the reductions were made by the steel industry - the greatest energy consumer in Britain.
The government said CO2 emissions fell 3.5 percent last year and that industry played a big role in helping Britain meet goals under the United Nations Kyoto Protocol to cut UK emissions by 12.5 percent by 2010 on 1990 levels.
"Today's figures are another boost for the government's aim to cut out carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050," UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher said, adding industry's contribution under the CCA scheme was significant.
A voluntary CO2 emissions trading scheme was launched in April last year as part of CCA to enable companies that cut greenhouse gas emissions above government agreed targets to sell allowances to those unable to meet the reductions.
DEFRA said companies traded almost 600,000 emissions allowances to meet targets under the CCA scheme in 2002, either selling or keeping the equivalent of four million tonnes of CO2.
The UK government hoped for a large uptake to help meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol ahead of mandatory European trading from 2005 and possible global trading.
Britain produced the equivalent of 150.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2002 compared with 156.1 million in 2001, according to DEFRA.