CPI Calls for Committee on Climate Change to Consider Consumption Emissions

The Guardian has today reported that data from the Office of National Statistics reveals that despite Government policies having helped to cut UK production of greenhouse gases since 1992, this fall in domestic emissions has been offset by those attributable to an increase in in the quantity of imported goods. The data shows that the UK is the G7’s biggest importer of CO2 emissions per capita, outstripping the US and Japan.

The Guardian’s view is that “Britain has contributed to the global climate emergency by outsourcing its carbon emissions to developing nations, according to official figures, despite managing to weaken the domestic link between fossil fuels and economic growth.”

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has long argued that the Government’s imposition of carbon taxes and equivalent costs on energy-intensive industry, such as paper manufacturing, with the aim of reducing domestic CO2 emissions runs the risk of achieving its goal by closing down such industry. In this scenario, the products no longer made in the UK are still made elsewhere in the world and imported into this country. This negates the supposed CO2 saving and denies the UK the benefit of having a thriving manufacturing sector in the economy. Today’s data from the ONS supports this conclusion.

The UK papermaking sector has reduced its carbon emissions by 68% since 1990 but it cannot be denied that some of this reduction has been achieved because of the closure of a number of UK paper mills to the detriment of local and national economies.

CPI calls on Government to urgently re-define the remit of the Committee on Climate Change so that it considers emissions associated with imported goods as well as domestic emissions when assessing progress against climate targets. Anthropogenic climate change is an issue that affects the whole world and any assessment on a national basis must include the effect of consumption emissions to give a true picture of the effect of the UK’s greenhouse gas reduction policies.


Notes to Editors:

  • 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 billion, with 56,000 direct and a further 86,000 indirect employees

Contact points for media enquiries:

To arrange an interview with Andrew Large, CPI Director General, please contact:

Andrew Large | alarge@paper.org.uk | tel: 01793 889601
Emma Punchard | epunchard@paper.org.uk | tel: 01790 889609

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