Britain, the world's ninth largest emitter in 2012, saw greenhouse
gas emissions reach 581.2 million tons compared to 563.2 million
tons in 2011.
Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for climate change,
accounted for 82 percent of 2012 emissions, rising 4.4. percent to
474.1 million tons from 2011.
The bulk of the emissions, some 35 percent, came from power
generation, followed by the transport sector at 21 percent, business
at 15 percent and residential at 13 percent.
Since 1990, Britain's emissions had been mostly sliding as power
stations used less coal and more gas to generate power.
They jumped in 2010 when the economy began to pick up after the
financial crisis in 2009 and fell again in 2011 due to the greater
use of renewable energy.
In 2012, however, coal overtook natural gas to become the biggest
single source of Britain's electricity. This was mostly due to the
U.S. shale gas boom, which made it less economical to burn coal
there and instead it was exported to Europe.
A colder than average winter in 2012 also pushed up demand for
energy for heating.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, the world's pact to help curb emissions,
Britain has to cut emissions by 12.5 percent below 1990 levels over
the period 2008-2012.
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Britain also has its own national carbon budgets which are set over
five-year periods towards a 2050 goal of cutting emissions at least
80 percent below 1990 levels.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change told
Reuters the 2012 statistics showed that Britain had met its first
so-called carbon budget which runs from 2008-12.
The budget put a limit on Britain's emissions at 3.018 billion tons
over the five-year period from 2008 to 2012.
"UK emissions (...) were 2.982 billion tons after taking account of
emissions trading, 36 million tons below the cap," the spokesman
"UK emissions under the Kyoto Protocol were an average 22.5 percent
below base-year levels over this period after taking account of
emissions trading," he added.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by David Evans)
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