North East England Greenhouse Gas Emissions Baselines and Trajectories Study Summary report

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1 We all need to act now - our future quality of life depends on it North East England Greenhouse Gas Emissions Baselines and Trajectories Study Summary report

2 THE NEED FOR ACTION Under a business as usual scenario, the region will fail to deliver against the Government s obligations under the Climate Change Act and international agreements. North East England faces a significant challenge in reaching national CO2 reduction targets and will not meet these targets under existing policies. If we carry on as we are, by 2050 our emissions will be nearly 39 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Our obligation under the Climate Change Act means we need to reduce this figure to 7.7 million tonnes. Background Greenhouse gas emissions are a major cause of climate change. The majority of the world s leading scientists now agree that the speeding up of natural climate change by human activities cannot continue if we are to protect the environment that we depend on and avoid the economic and social costs of adverse climate change. The UK has a legally binding target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels by Through the Climate Change Act 2008 it has also set itself a more ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, with an aim of achieving a 26 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by North East England is committed to tackling climate change and reducing the production of greenhouse gases that can be attributed to our region. Although we do not have specific regional targets for reduction of emissions, we do have a duty to contribute to the overall UK targets. 2

3 North East england greenhouse gas emissions baselines and trajectories study This is a summary report of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Baselines Trajectories Study. The full report can be found online at The study was commissioned to measure the contribution that we are making to local, regional, national and international targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Through the study we have: produced a comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory for North East England; developed a regional tool to enable the region to monitor its emissions; produced emissions trajectories showing the impact of existing regional plans and strategies; and developed a methodology for the region to use when developing future strategies to show the effect on emissions of future development proposals. Key Findings Research from the study shows that: 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the North East in 2005 are CO2 emissions; the biggest source of emissions in the North East is from the industrial sector; trajectories to 2050 show an increase in emissions in the North East, particularly from transport; and existing regional policies and actions will not deliver the reductions required for the North East to meet UK emissions reduction targets. 3

4 Greenhouse gas emissions for North East England The study has produced an emissions inventory for North East England with a baseline year of 2005 and projections forward to 2020 and It also provides reference figures for 1990, although this was not used as the baseline year as the data necessary to compile a sufficiently detailed North East inventory does not exist for Projections have been based on the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform s Updated Energy Projections, which provide projections and analysis of energy use and CO2 emissions in the UK. The region s current trajectory will lead us to an increase in emissions rather than a reduction to 7.7 million tonnes. The Science This study has measured emissions of the basket of six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol, the current international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. These are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and the three so called F gases (gases containing fluorine) sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons. In the UK, emissions of carbon dioxide account for approximately 85 per cent of the total emissions. Other greenhouse gases, known collectively as the Kyoto Basket after the Kyoto Protocol, are measured in carbon equivalents (CO2e) and weighted accordingly. Methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 and accounts for 8 per cent of total UK emissions. Methane emissions derive mostly from decomposing landfill and from enteric fermentation in the stomachs of livestock. Leakage from the gas transmission network and releases of methane from closed coal mines also contribute. Nitrous oxide is 310 times more potent than CO2 and accounts for approximately 6 per cent of total UK emissions. These are mainly from nitrogenous fertilisers applied to the land and emissions from the transport sector and industry. Chlorofluorocarbons (HFCs and SF6) are used as coolants for fridges and in aerosols. Whilst these are produced in relatively small quantities they are many thousand times more potent than CO2. 4

5 Estimated emissions for 1990 Emissions for 2005 The study shows that in 1990 the total CO2 equivalent emissions based on the global warming potential for all six greenhouse gases was over 70 million tonnes in the North East. Over 50 per cent of these emissions were due to CO2, and the majority of those CO2 emissions related to industry. The change in emissions between 1990 and 2005 for the three major greenhouse gases is illustrated in Figure 1 below N2O By 2005 emissions of the overall basket of greenhouse gases had dropped to just over 40 million tonnes. This was mainly due to falls in nitrous oxides as a result of industrial changes and widespread switching to use of gas as a fuel in all energy sectors. As a result, over 80 per cent of the emissions in 2005 were due to CO2 and this is therefore one of the main focuses of policy in relation to emissions reductions. Figure CH4 CO Annual Emissions (M. Tonnes CO2 Equivalent) Projected emissions to 2020 and 2050 From 2005 decreases are projected in the residential and industrial sectors, mainly due to customers continuing to switch to gas supply and energy efficiency measures. However, these reductions in the domestic and industrial sectors are projected to be offset by the increase in other sectors, mainly transport, in particular shipping. The overall picture for greenhouse gas emissions presented by the study is shown in Figure 2 below. Annual Emissions (M. Tonnes CO2 Equivalent) Figure Public and Commercial Agriculture and Land Use Aviation and Shipping Waste Road Transport Residential Industry

6 The study identified that a major change in the mix of the region s greenhouse gas emissions occurred between 1990 and From 2005 onwards, the mix of greenhouse gases is projected to remain relatively stable with CO2 being the predominant greenhouse gas. Table 1 identifies the total greenhouse gas emissions for the four study years and the proportions attributable to CO2. Table 1 The contribution of CO2 and non- CO2 GHG to total CO2e across North East England Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions 73,320,602 42,425,397 42,026,703 43,927,187 CO2 38,535,825 37,170,066 36,996,153 38,859,659 CO2 as % of Emissions 52.56% 87.61% 88.03% 88.46% Whilst the picture for greenhouse gas emissions might appear encouraging, particularly the period between 1990 and 2005, international agreements and domestic legislation are focused on carbon dioxide emissions. Here the picture is less optimistic and data from the study is presented in Table 2. Table 2 Summary of observed and projected regional CO2 emissions by sector (tonnes) Sector Industry 23,421,183 22,770,365 19,545,698 19,545,698 Road Transport 3,532,762 4,608,085 4,851,936 5,591,032 Residential 6,635,990 6,115,283 3,971,832 4,262,769 Public and Commercial Aviation and Shipping Agricultural and Land Use* 1,293, , , ,815 2,440,125 2,536,334 7,309,338 7,505, , , , ,289 Waste 953, , , ,147 Total 38,535,825 37,170,066 36,966,153 38,859,659 * Includes carbon sink as well as sources 6

7 What does this mean? The information in these tables shows that: CO2 emissions from the industrial sector are by far the biggest source of regional greenhouse gas emissions; CO2 emissions in 2005 were still 96.5 per cent of those estimated for 1990 and are estimated to form the overwhelming proportion of regional emissions into the future; Although the domestic sector is projected to have greatly reduced CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 2005, it remains a significant sector for emissions beyond that time and is projected to increase between 2020 and 2050 due to demographic factors; Road transport CO2 emissions are projected to continue increasing from 2005 onwards; Other transport CO2 emissions are projected to increase dramatically over the period 2005 to 2020 due to the significant growth of port facilities in the North East; and By 2020, there is expected to be little change in total CO2 equivalent compared to 2005 because reductions from the residential and industrial sector are forecast to be offset by the increase in emissions from other sectors, mainly shipping. This means that under a business as usual scenario, the region would fail to deliver against the Government s obligations under the Climate Change Act and international agreements. The region s current trajectory will lead to an increase in emissions, rather than a reduction to 7.7 million tonnes. 7

8 POLICY and legislation The study also considered the extent to which existing regional and national policies would enable the region to deliver its contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. There are a number of policies and strategies that set out the requirement for the UK and regions to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the actions necessary to do this. National Policy Climate Change Act The Climate Change Act 2008 received Royal Assent in November The Act contains a variety of provisions relating both to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It puts into statute the targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through domestic and international action by at least 80 per cent by 2050 and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2020, against a 1990 baseline. The Act sets out a new approach to managing and responding to climate change in the UK through setting ambitious targets, taking powers to help achieve them, strengthening the institutional framework, enhancing the UK s ability to adapt to the impact of climate change and establishing clear and regular accountability to the UK, Parliament and devolved legislatures. Climate Change Programme The 2006 Climate Change Programme sets out the Government s international and domestic commitments to tackling climate change. It includes existing and new additional measures for the energy supply sector, business, transport, domestic emissions, the public sector, agriculture, forestry and land management, and measures to encourage action by individuals. However, even with the inclusion of the new additional measures, the programme estimates that all measures together will only lead to a reduction in the UK s carbon dioxide emissions to 15 to 18 per cent below 1990 levels, still significantly below the original domestic goal. 8

9 UK Renewable Energy Strategy The UK Government carried out a major renewable energy strategy consultation in An announcement of the UK s new Renewable Energy Strategy is expected in spring This process has great significance for the scope and scale of the UK s approach to renewable energy sources. Last spring the UK agreed with other EU Member States to an EU-wide target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020, including a binding 10 per cent target for the transport sector. The European Commission has proposed that the UK share of this target would be to achieve 15 per cent of the UK s energy from renewables by 2020, which is equivalent to almost a ten-fold increase in renewable energy consumption from current levels. Department of Energy and Climate Change Energy efficiency initiatives continue to be a major part of the UK s carbon reduction programmes. The formation of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, announced in October 2008, will undoubtedly add focus to these initiatives and it can be expected that further emphasis will be placed on national energy efficiency programmes and approaches in due course. Planning Policy Statement 1 Planning Policy Statement 1 sets out the key principles that must be applied to ensure planning and development plans and decisions contribute to the delivery of sustainable development. The subsequent Planning and Climate Change: Supplement to PPS1 takes this commitment further and states that: Tackling climate change is a key Government priority for the planning system. The ambition and policies in this PPS should therefore be fully reflected by regional planning bodies in the preparation of Regional Spatial Strategies, by the Mayor of London in relation to the Spatial Development Strategy in London and by planning authorities in the preparation of Local Development Documents. Similarly, applicants for planning permission should consider how well their proposals for development contribute to the Government s ambition of a low carbon economy and how well adapted they are for the expected effects of climate change. 9

10 Code for Sustainable Homes The Code for Sustainable Homes is a new national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. It is designed to sit alongside the building regulations and the planning system. The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against nine categories of sustainable design. It uses a 1 to 6 star rating system to assess the overall sustainability of a new home. Principally, it is a response to the need for further improvement in the energy efficiency of new buildings, to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. The code will chart the future direction of the building regulations for the next 10 years, with the Government having set a target of all new build homes being zero carbon by 2016 with a staged programme of revisions to the Building Regulations to achieve this. Local authorities Local authorities (LAs) have a key role to play in achieving the UK s greenhouse gas emissions reductions. A key driver is the new local authority performance framework of 198 outcome-based indicators. Three of these indicators relate directly to climate change mitigation: National Indicator 185: CO2 reduction from Local Authority operations National Indicator 186: Per capita reduction in CO2 emissions in the LA area National Indicator 187: Tackling fuel poverty. In North East England, six out of the 12 local area agreements include National Indicator (NI) 186 and five include NI 187. Targets set for NI 186 within each Local Area Agreement range from between around 11 and 13 per cent by This, alongside the targets set for NI 187 in the region, will make a valuable contribution the overall emissions reductions in the region. 10

11 Regional Policy It is important to understand whether regional policies currently provide a comprehensive coverage of the sectors of the economy and society from which emissions arise, and therefore can be said to have a scope adequate to the scale of the task. Currently the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and the Regional Economic Strategy (RES), coupled with the emerging Climate Change Action Plan, are the key delivery routes for the reduction of emissions in the region. Further significant and concerted policy action is required to meet this challenge and the future Single Regional Strategy will be a key driver for this. A qualitative assessment of the coverage of these key strategies against the three principal sectors for emissions in the region shows us that none of these three sectors can be comprehensively covered by existing policies and actions. The scope of regional emissions reduction policies in relation to key sectors Residential Industry Road Transport Regional Spatial Strategy **** ** ** Regional Economic Strategy *** **** ** Climate Change Action Plan *** * ** The ratings shown in the table range from complete coverage ( *****) to incomplete coverage ( *) and are qualitative independent assessments by AEA Energy and Environment. 11

12 AEA concluded that the new RSS has a significant policy context, which will assist the region to strive towards emissions reductions from future development activity and its associated land use. It reinforces national policy on housing, non-domestic development and sustainable energy sources. It is at the level of the Local Development Frameworks (LDF) and the development control decisions arising from these LDFs, that the potentially very significant role of the RSS has more scope to deliver changes to decision making and to ensure that climate change mitigation is given the significant weight that it requires in order to have a strong influence on emissions reduction. Recommendation 1: Policy intentions set out within the Regional Spatial Strategy must be vigorously driven forward within Local Development Frameworks and development control approaches across the region. Without this vigour the Regional Spatial Strategy will not deliver its intentions on the ground, in the face of business as usual constraints. As is clear from all recent analyses of emissions from the domestic sector nationwide, it is the emissions performance of existing dwellings that will largely determine the extent of further reductions in this area, beyond the downward trend for new build envisaged by the prospective implementation of the Code for Sustainable Homes through future building regulations. Some of the provisions within the current RES Action Plan are therefore of critical importance in assisting retrofit and refurbishment of domestic dwellings. Recommendation 2: The current RES Action Plan priorities to tackle sustainable communities and regeneration must be aligned very closely with the need to ensure that emissions mitigation can be vigorously tackled in the existing domestic stock. Their scale and scope must be greatly increased for them to be commensurate with the scale of the challenge. The RES is also the appropriate home for further and faster regional action on industrial CO2 emissions. Programmes such as the Energy Resource Efficiency Programme and its forthcoming replacement activity are an appropriate response to these challenges. Recommendation 3: The region must address what needs to be done to significantly add to what can be achieved through national emissions reduction programmes. This is of particular importance due to the significance of industrial CO2 emissions across North East England. The strength of the regional policy response to road transport emissions issues is clearly determined in part by the ability of regional institutions to influence the sector through policy, funding or other means. Nevertheless in the face of rising road transport emissions and uncertainty over the policy approach at national level there seems to be a clear opportunity for the North East to strengthen its resolve in this area. Recommendation 4: The current suggested Climate Change Action Plan action to research, develop and implement large scale H2 fuel cell systems is illustrative of the type of initiative that could add strength to the region s response to increasing road transport emissions. We must increase the profile and effect of transport policy actions such as modal shift (changing to public transport), which will have positive effects on emissions and a variety of other policy goals such as obesity and accessibility. 12

13 North East England faces a significant challenge in reaching national CO2 reduction targets and existing policies will not meet these targets. Further significant and concerted policy action is required to meet this challenge, for which the forthcoming Single Regional Strategy should form a clear focus. Current regional policies, programmes, and actions will not be sufficient to deliver the scale of emissions reductions required by the UK s targets because: policy coverage for the key emissions sectors of residential, industry and road transport is not comprehensive for example, there is insufficient attention given to the significant emissions reduction required from the existing domestic building stock; the strength of existing emissions reduction policies and programmes is insufficient to guarantee delivery of the required scale of emissions reduction for example, there should be much greater support provided through programmes such as the Energy Resource Efficiency initiative to help reduce industrial emissions; the overall position of emissions reduction within wider regional policy and programme objectives and priorities, particularly the RES and the RSS, is not currently of high enough priority to overcome the inertia associated with decarbonising the economy and society in particular the RES needs to give a much higher profile to emissions reduction as an overarching priority. 13

14 REGIONAL ACTIONS Business as usual approaches to achieving the UK s targets will be insufficient, as shown by the precedent of the UK s Climate Change Programme. The region s current trajectory will lead to an increase in emissions, rather than a reduction to 7.7 million tonnes. In light of the emissions inventory results produced by the study, North East England must develop further targeted actions for specific sectors to ensure that we have the maximum impact on reduction of emissions. Based on a qualitative analysis, the study identified that the two sectors where specific targeted actions could have the greatest impact were the domestic and industrial sectors. The criteria used to identify these sectors were: the absolute scale of emissions from the sector (based on 2020 projections) the projected trend from 2005 onwards the scope for regional intervention the total scope for intervention measurability of successful emissions reductions. The study identified a number of specific actions for the domestic and industrial sectors that will enable regional policies and programmes to have a greater impact on the reduction of CO2 emissions into the future. 14

15 Domestic sector enhance monitoring of the uptake and application of current RSS mitigation policies; develop and implement suitable policy or development standards for emissions mitigation in refurbishment and regeneration; develop and implement stronger links between sustainable regeneration policies and associated RES funding; major scale-up of regional activity relating to economic benefits from sustainable construction and sustainable energy techniques; and ensure that the North East gains its share of, and benefits effectively from, national Climate Change Programme funding streams relating to sustainable construction. Industrial sector major scale-up of regional activity relating to resource efficiency within industry (particularly related to emissions reduction); development of further corporate commitment actions within the RES Action Plan; and ensure that the North East gains its share of, and benefits effectively from, national Climate Change Programme funding streams relating to industrial emissions reduction. There are also some more generic actions that will be applicable to all sectors: lobby for national policy changes that will complement and support the proposed targeted regional actions; and make or reinforce links with other regions in order to share experience and reinforce approaches within specific sectors, particularly industry and transport. In conclusion, the study provides the region with a sound assessment of our current and projected regional greenhouse gas emissions, based on nationally accepted methodology, It shows us that, without a strengthening of policy and stronger emphasis on practical delivery through innovative thinking, sharing of best practice and vigilance, the region will not succeed in moving to the low carbon economic base that will benefit our economy, our people and our environment. 15

16 FURTHER INFORMATION Sustaine would like to thank the following partners for their contribution: Government Office for the North East, North East Assembly, North East Regional Information Partnership, Northumberland Strategic Partnership and One North East. This study was carried out by AEA Energy and Environment who have also carried out the national emissions inventory work for the UK Government. A copy of the full Greenhouse Gas Emissions Baselines and Trajectories Study is available online at For information about the emissions methodology please contact David Mell at NERIP on or Photo Montage: Kimmerston Design Ltd. ( Photography by: Peter Atkinson Design and Production by Ideographic Ltd. Crown Copyright January 2009

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