CPI Comments on the IPCC Special Report

The publication of the latest report (‘IPCC Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C – a first assessment’) reaffirms that to minimise the adverse effects of climate change, there needs to be substantial changes to the way energy and resources are used if decarbonisation targets are to be achieved. Acting on these priorities calls for huge additional investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and a circular economy. 

The Paper Industry is already delivering on this agenda, with pulp fibres drawn from a renewable and recyclable resource, and an ongoing focus on carbon and energy efficiency – as such paper based-products will be central to delivering sustainability.   
The UK already has a mandatory Green House Gas emission reduction target of 80% by 2050 (based on a 1990 start point), with the UK papermaking industry already delivering more than its fair share in achieving this target. 

By 2017, sector emissions of fossil-based carbon dioxide have been reduced by 67% (vs 1990, direct site emissions plus CO2 associated with grid supplied electricity), with the amount of CO2 associated with each tonne of production falling from 1.3 tonnes to 0.54 tonnes over the same period – an impressive 59% improvement. 

The sector is working in partnership with Government and the Committee on Climate Change to understand how even more savings can be delivered, with a sector/Government decarbonisation Roadmap to 2050 already published and a potential Sector Deal being negotiated. At the same time, there’s considerable attention focused on renewable paper-based products replacing non-renewable materials in a push towards a bio-based economy and with increased UK manufacturing as part of a re-balanced economy.

Commenting on the release of the report, Steve Freeman, Director of Energy & Environmental Affairs commented:

“A huge issue with the current target is that it only addresses direct UK emissions, neglecting emissions in other countries which are released as part of making goods exported for use in the UK. The danger in this approach is that closing UK industry reduces UK emissions, while not accounting for emissions associated with imported manufactured goods. Clearly this makes no sense and must be addressed. Carbon respects no boundaries and UK policies make no sense if other nations are not acting in the same way.”

“Our industry has already delivered considerable carbon savings and is striving to do more.  However high, and quickly growing energy costs, limits the potential for investment. For a number of years, the Government has dithered over establishing an energy efficiency support scheme and it should make this a priority in the forthcoming budget.”


Notes to Editors: 
Supporting Statistics – UK Papermaking

Pulp & Paper 1990 statistics:

  • Paper produced = 5.0 Mt
  • Scope 1 emissions = 4.1 MtCO2 (emissions from site)
  • Scope 2 emissions = 2.5 MtCO2 (grid supplied electricity)

Total = 6.6 MtCO2

Pulp & Paper 2017 statistics:

  • Paper produced = 4.0 Mt
  • Scope 1 emissions = 1.7 MtCO2
  • Scope 2 emissions = 0.7 MtCO2
  • Scope 2 credit (exported electricity) = (0.2) MtCO2

Total = 2.2 MtCO2 

67% reduction in CO2 emissions 2017 vs. 1990

Carbon efficiency improvement from 1.3 to 0.54 tCO2 /t (59%)

Delivered by a combination of fuel switching (coal or gas to biomass), energy efficiency improvements (new machines, equipment), investment in Combined Heat & Power Plant.

Reduction in the carbon content of grid supplied electricity:

  • Grid carbon factor in 2011 was 0.49 kgCO2/kWh
  • Grid carbon factor in 2017 was 0.38 kgCO2/kWh

Data drawn from verified sources including the sector Climate Change Agreement and EU Emissions Trading System.

For further information contact Mike Dobson, Director of Public Affairs on 01793 889612 or email mdobson@paper.org.uk

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based Industries, comprising paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, makers of soft tissue papers, and collectors of paper for recycling.

CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £11.5 billion, with 56,000 direct and a further 86,000 indirect employees.