Emmisions facts do not line up

A rational debate about carbon emissions, and measures needed to reduce atmospheric concentrations, is extremely difficult in the absence of agreement about emission rates and predictions for the years 2000 and 2010.

The November 1997 edition of Windpower Monthly reports a European Commission official as saying figures supplied by member countries show Germany and the UK on target to reduce their emissions by 12% and 6%, respectively, below 1990 levels by the year 2000.

In the same edition, World Energy Council says emissions by industrialised countries are presently 8% above 1990 levels. WEC's July 1997 journal states UK emissions are rising again and on present trends are likely to exceed 1990 levels by several percentage points by 2000.

Where does the UK's commitment to a 20% reduction by 2010 stand in the light of these figures?

Present emission rates should be a matter of indisputable fact. If they are not agreed, how the hell is a sensible policy supposed to emerge from this debate? Who are we and policy makers supposed to believe?

Lobbyists on both sides of the climate change debate daily wring their hands over this problem. At Windpower Monthly our rule of thumb is to question statistics from organisations with ulterior motives, such as the World Energy Council, and take with a pinch of salt the more rabid claims of environmentalists. There are a range of organisations between these two extremes which more or less agree on emissions. Subjectively, I admit, we lean towards these.

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