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Progress made but 'more to be done' to meet emissions target.

Byline: Chris Kelsey Assistant head of business

Wales is on course to meet its most recent annual target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions according to a report by the Welsh Government.

Figures in the latest Climate Change annual report show that the country met its target for reducing emissions by 3% in 2012, the most recent year for which the statistics are available. Provisional data also indicate that the country is on course to meet the same target for 2013.

But against the target of a 40% reduction by 2020 the report shows that total emissions have decreased by just 17.9% against the 1990 baseline.

This means that with just five years left before the deadline, Wales has to achieve a further emissions reduction of 22.1% against the 1990 baseline.

Friends of the Earth Wales director Gareth Clubb said: "Despite some progress, we have serious concerns. We are way off-target to meet our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020, and at this rate the only thing that will get us there is closure of Aberthaw power station.

"The one thing that has succeeded in reducing transport emissions that is within the Welsh Government's control is a reduction in road traffic. Building a new stretch of M4 will only increase traf-ffic and therefore emissions. Clearly the Minister for Transport is ignoring the Minister for Environment on this issue."

The annual report sets out progress against the emission reduction targets set out in the Welsh Government's Climate Change Strategy as well as highlighting the key action taken to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change in Wales.

The report shows all sectors have reduced their emissions in comparison with the 1990 baseline. Transport sector emissions fell by 8.2%, in the residential sector 7.6%, in the business sector 16.7%, in agriculture and land-use 1.2%, the resource efficiency and waste sector 20.4% and the devolved public sector 3.1%.

On a year-by-year basis, though, the results were more mixed. While emissions continued to fall in the transport and waste sectors, in the residential, business, agriculture and land use and waste sectors they rose compared to the year before. The report said the differing results highlight how sectors are vulnerable to annual variation. In 2012, it adds, increased emissions also resulted from a switch back to coal from gas for the generating of electricity.

The increase in the use of coal was also significant in the increase in emissions against the 40% target, with emissions covered by the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) accounting for 52% of Wales' overall emissions in 2012.

The report reiterates the message from last year's annual report that further action is needed in order to deliver the target of a 40% reduction in total emissions by 2020. It points to the significant progress made in the waste and resource efficiency sector, where implementation of the Welsh Government's Zero Waste Strategy and further progress towards increasing recycling rates have driven down emissions by more than a fifth.

Sustainable Futures Commissioner Peter Davies said: "I firmly believe 2015 will be a tipping point as we see an acceleration in the transition to low carbon, with significant global investments, leading up to the UN Paris conference at the end of the year. This report shows our emission levels are very much subject to global trends so it is critical we are in a position to maximise the opportunity of low-carbon transition for jobs and social justice." Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said: "In once again meeting our 3% annual emissions target, it shows positive progress has been made. That said, with our emissions against the 40% target increasing, it is clear more must be done."


With just five years left before the deadline, Wales has to achieve a further emissions reduction of 22.1% against the 1990 baseline to meet the 40% target
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Title Annotation:Business; Front Page
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 29, 2015
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