Latest UK environmental accounts published

Statistics show improving energy intensity, acid gas emissions, but rising road transport CO2

A second annual set of environmental accounts for the UK was released by the national statistical office yesterday. Published as part of the overall national accounts, the environmental section shows continued improvements in the UK's energy intensity and acid gas emissions to 1998, but an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from some sectors.

First reported in this format last year (ENDS Daily 30 August 1999), the "satellite" environmental accounts follow a format developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and are aimed at progressively integrating environmental data into the national accounting process.

The statistics show a 13% fall in energy intensity for the UK economy from 1991 to 1998, because while energy consumption rose by 4%, gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 20%. The proportion of energy derived from fossil fuels fell from 92% to 90% during the same period.

Emissions of key air pollutants continued to fall in most sectors, with overall greenhouse gas and acid rain precursor emissions down by 7% and 40% respectively over the period. Total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 6.7%, but rose marginally between 1997 and 1998. Transport was the main sector to buck the downward trend, with greenhouse gas emissions from road transport rising 9% from 1991 to 1998.

The statistics show a continued increase in the level of environmental taxation in the UK. These rose by 47% in real terms from 1991 to 1999 to 3.7% of GDP, 0.1 percentage points above the 1997 figure reported in last year's accounts.

Other sections of the environmental accounts offer estimates of remaining recoverable oil and gas reserves, detailed sector-by-sector trends in material imports and exports and environmental protection expenditure in 1997 by various industries as first reported last November (ENDS Daily 8 November 1999).

Follow Up:
UK statistical office, tel: +44 20 75 33 57 14. See also information on UK environmental accounting and 2000 UK environmental accounts.

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