UK on course to meet international obligations on climate change

Feb 12, 1997 01:00 AM

The United Kingdom will more than meet its international obligations in reducing greenhouse gases, Environment Secretary John Gummer said recently. He said the UK is on course to go beyond what was required of it at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
Announcing publication of the UK Government's second official report to the United Nations on progress on its climate change programme, Mr Gummer said that by the year 2000, total emissions of carbon dioxide was likely to between 4 to 8 % below the 1990 baseline. Mr Gummer said: "I have proposed that developed countries reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases to between 5 and 10 % below 1990 levels by 2010: a challenging target for some of the world's largest emitters, but one which can be achieved if all take their commitments as seriously as the United Kingdom."
Each Party to the Convention is obliged to submit regularly a communication to the UN, explaining the progress it has made towards meeting its commitments. The United Kingdom submitted its first report in January 1994 and recently publish its second, some two months ahead of the deadline. Emissions of carbon dioxide, are expected to be between 4 and 8 % below 1990 levels by 2000; emissions of methane to be 22 % below 1990 levels; and emissions of NOx to be 62 % below.

The Prime Minister signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) at the Rio summit in 1992. It committed the UK to return its emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2000 and to report progress regularly to the UN. Following Rio, the UK established its Climate Change Programme, building on measures which it was already taking.
The Climate Change Programme was set out in the UK's first report under the FCCC in January 1994; a progress report on carbon dioxide was published in December 1995; and now the UK has published its second report.
Carbon dioxide is the most important man-made greenhouse gas in the United Kingdom. In 1990 it accounted for 81 % of the direct global warming potential from national greenhouse gas emissions. Methane emissions contributed 12 %, counting both the direct and indirect global warming effects, and NOx a further 5 %.
The remaining 2 % is due to emissions of hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs), perfluorcarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) all of which have high global warming potentials but low levels of emissions.

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