Carbon dioxide emissions are rising rapidly in the UK, forcing the government to consider a range of new measures to keep its pledge to combat climate change. Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry yesterday show that rather than falling as planned, carbon dioxide emissions have risen rapidly - by 2.2 per cent in 2003 and 1.5 per cent in 2004. With the last Labour manifesto promising to cut emissions on 1990 levels by 20 per cent by 2010, the government has realised that drastic action is now required to tackle the problem. Among the actions being considered by the government review are:
* A review of wind power and other renewables to see if they can deliver more carbon dioxide savings;
* Large scale investment in the next generation of tidal, wave and solar systems;
* Consideration of whether a new generation of nuclear power stations is needed;
* Tax breaks and subsidies for energy efficient household appliances;
* New building regulations to make houses and businesses more energy efficient;
* Carbon taxes, including rises in fuel duties;
* A reduction in prices of alternative fuels and subsidies for bio-diesel made from oil seed rape.
Apart from its 2001 manifesto pledge of a 20% reduction, which the government has already admitted it might not meet, the UK is committed to a legally binding 12.5 per cent cut in all greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol, which came into force last month. Until the latest figures were released, the government was confident that it would be well within the Kyoto target, but unless the trend is reversed it will miss that too.