Carbon Emissions – The Bigger Picture

(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)

Dave Haskell (Have Your Say, Friday 20 May) is correct in saying the UK produces less than 2% of the worlds carbon emissions.

2% may seem like a tiny amount, but it still places the UK in the top 10 emitters in the world (from a total of 215 countries for which records exist). And these top 10 generate over 67% of all emissions.

But this figure only records emissions generated within the UK and does not take account of carbon emissions related to all the goods and services that we import into the UK.

As one of the world’s major importing countries, the UK’s full Carbon Footprint is significantly higher than our local emissions.

From the latest data available, the UK’s carbon footprint averages out at around 15 tonnes per person per year compared to just 3.1 tonnes for China. This data shows just how far we have to go before we can begin to ask countries like China to start reducing their footprint.

As we have learned from our attempts to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons, it’s difficult to take the moral high ground without putting your own house in order first.

Just this week we have heard that the projected rise in demand for electricity in the UK, coupled with the imminent demise of several of our current conventional and nuclear power stations will require the equivalent of 20 new power stations to be provided over the next decade.

What Mr Haskell and his colleagues who are marching against wind farms need to do is explain how we are to cope with this projected rise in demand without increasing our carbon emissions – a question the Windy Nimbys consistently duck.


Keith M Ross
Swansea Green Party


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Keith M Ross on May 25, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Edited version appeared in today’s Evening Post


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