photo by eskimo_jo (Flickr CC)

Though the economic recession caused UK greenhouse gas emissions to fall in 2009 (8.7% from 2008 levels), in 2010 they climbed back up by 3.1%, according to a new government report.

This is the first rise in emissions since 2003 and can be attributed to the unusually cold winter of 2010. Power generation used more fossil fuels during the year.

An article in the Guardian associates the rise in emissions with the economic recovery after the recession (has there been an ‘after the recession?’) though it also states that industries such as business, agriculture and transport, stayed ‘static’.

The big difference, besides the cold weather, seems to be a transition away from nuclear power to traditional fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.

From Reuters:

Most of the rest of the increase was due to a greater number of maintenance shutdowns at low-carbon nuclear power plants, which forced utilities to burn more fossils fuels to generate electricity, the report said.

Despite the 2010 rise, the UK is still ahead of its Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, (24% since 1990 compared to the goal of 12.5%). The target for 2020 is a reduction of 35% from 1990 levels.