03 Sep 2010 10:09:10
UK 'needs to be open about carbon emissions'
The UK government needs to be open about the true extent of carbon emissions cuts, according to a leading scientist.
Professor Robert Watson, the government's chief environment scientist, said that if emissions "embedded" in imported goods are taken into consideration, UK emissions are actually increasing and the apparent cuts are an illusion.
"At face value UK emissions look as if they have decreased 15 or 16 percent since 1990," he said.
"But if you take in carbon embedded in our imports, our emissions have gone up about 12 percent."
However, the government has spoken out in defence of its action on greenhouse gases, with a spokesperson for the Department for Energy and Climate Change highlighting international rules which state that emissions from manufacturing are counted by the country of production.
According to figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the UK's carbon footprint stands at over 500 million tonnes of CO2 a year.