UK electricity equals 21million cars


EON UK biggest emitter: It produced a table identifying EON UK, the electricity generator that owned Powergen, as Britain’s biggest corporate emitter of greenhouse gases.

Who the other four are: EON UK produced 26.4 million tonnes tonnes of CO2 last year. The other four companies named were RWE Npower, Drax, Corus, and EDF. EON, RWE Npower, Drax and EDF are all involved in electricity generation while Corus is mainly a steel producer.

Five emit more than 100 million tonnes: The Guardian table showed these five companies produced a combined total of more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 in 2005, compared to the annual average of 81 million tonnes produced by the nation’s 26 million private cars.

Efforts by individuals and household make little difference: The figures, which prompted new calls for tighter restrictions on corporate pollution, showed that efforts by individuals and households to cut their carbon footprints would make little difference unless accompanied by greater action by industry.

Huge gains from slight improvement in efficiency: The newspaper noted that a 1 per cent increase in the efficiency of the giant Drax power station in North Yorkshire – the largest in Europe and the single biggest polluting site in the UK – would save the typical carbon emissions of 21,000 households. Drax alone produced 20.8 million tonnes of CO2 in 2005.

EON cites its green energy record: A spokeswoman for EON said: "We are one of the leading green generators and invest more per customer in green energy than any other major supplier in the UK."

Test depends on extent of change: A spokesman for RWE Npower said: "We’re one of the UK’s biggest power generators, so of course we’re going to have more emissions than, say, a single power station somewhere. The test of ‘green-ness’ is how much you are changing."

Details of 700 UK industrial sites: The CO2 emissions of more than 700 industrial sites across Britain were contained in figures released on Monday by the European Commission. They detailed the UK’s participation in the first phase of a Europe-wide scheme intended to tackle climate change by capping the amount of carbon the heaviest polluters can emit.

Reference: Digest of latest news reported on website of Climate Change Secretariat of United Nations Framework on Climate Change Control (UNFCCC). 16 May 2006. Address: PO Box 260 124, D-53153 Bonn. Germany. Phone: : (49-228) 815-1005, Fax: (49-228) 815-1999. Email:

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