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Wales' big carbon footprint; Action not words needed as we come 13th in greenhouse gas league.

Byline: Martin Shipton

SOUTH Wales is pumping greenhouse gas into the environment, causing Wales to have one of the highest rates of carbon emissions in the world.

Official figures show that Wales ranks 13th in an international league table of the worst emitters of CO2, which contributes most to climate change.

And Cardiff is one of the prime polluters in Wales, coming third in the list of the nation's 22 local authorities.

Merthyr Tydfil pollutes the least.

At 15.57 tonnes per person in 2006, which is the most recent year for which detailed statistics are available, Wales' CO2 emissions are significantly higher than in all three other UK nations.

One of Wales' most prominent environmentalists last night said the figures indicated the extent of the challenge facing Wales.

The report includes a survey of the latest scientific thinking on climate change and says the average temperature in Wales is now 1.33 degrees higher than it was in 1961.

Gordon James, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: "The abundant political rhetoric that we have had on the subject must be replaced by courageous action that will bring about big reductions in emissions in the very near future."

The Assembly Government has committed itself to 3% year-on-year reductions in carbon emissions from 2011, but a detailed strategy will not be published until the end of this year.

Cardiff emitted 2,355 kilotonnes of CO2 emissions in 2006, 1,125 kilotonnes of which came from industrial and commercial sources.

Rhondda Cynon Taf came seventh with 1,554 kilotonnes of CO2 emitted and the Vale of Glamorgan was ninth in the list with 1,302 kilotonnes.

Bridgend was 11th, emitting 1,207 kilotonnes, Caerphilly 13th with 1,080, Torfaen 19th with 682, and at the bottom was Merthyr Tydil, emitting just 404 kilotonnes.

The highest level of emissions by far came fromNeath PortTalbot, site of the big Corus steelworks.

Mr James said: "This paper on carbon dioxide emissions in Wales spells out the threat we face from climate change.

It also shows that, despite some welcome initiatives by the Welsh Assembly Government, the overall response to this threat remains hopelessly inadequate.

"It's extremely disappointing to learn that carbon dioxide emissions in Wales rose between 2005 and 2006. They are still just below the 1990 level and well short of the 20% cut by 2010 target set by the Government.

"The abundant political rhetoric that we have had on the subject must be replaced by substantial action that will bring about big reductions in emissions in the very near future. Last week's decision to give the go-ahead to a large power station at Pembroke instead of the far more efficient combined heat and power systems just shows how politicians are still delivering business as usual responses rather than the radical policy changes that are now essential."

An Assembly Government spokesman said: "We will read this report and take on board the comments as part of our ongoing battle against climate change."


CLIMATE CHANGE: The Corus steelworks in Neath Port Talbot, the area has the highest level of carbon emissions according to the repot
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 9, 2009
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