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‘UK outsourcing pollution to China’, warn MPs

Description: Carbon emissions increase in manufacturing countries

Carbon emissions from goods imported and consumed in the UK are rising faster than the average fall in greenhouse gases, MPs have warned.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee noted that the UK’s official figures relating to the cutting of greenhouse gases may not have been accurate following the “outsourcing” of carbon emissions to countries like China.

Chairman of the committee Tim Yeo said that past governments had claimed to be cutting climate change emissions, but in fact a lot of “pollution had simply been outsourced.”

He added: “We get through more consumer goods than ever before in the UK and this is pushing up emissions in manufacturing countries like China.”

Yeo further added that ministers should take a more “honest approach” to Britain’s overall impact on the climate.

The committee urged that the government should attempt to consider “consumption-based emissions” when designing climate change policies and working out data on UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “We account for our emissions according to international rules that are followed by all countries that are signed up to the Kyoto Protocol, and that are the basis for international negotiations on climate change.

“Ultimately, the best way to reduce the UK’s consumption emissions is to persuade all countries to manage down their territorial emissions through a global deal on climate change.”

The committee of MPs has asked the government to take on board independent climate advisers to work out how the UK could incorporate emissions from imported goods in its policies.

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