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F-gas emissions on the increase - slightly

The latest set of statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change show that the UK's greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 3.2 per cent.

The report, which provides the latest estimates of UK greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-2012, highlights the rise from 581.1 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2011 to 563.2 million tonnes in 2012. This is primarily attributed to the residential sector which was up by 12.3 per cent (8.5 MtCO2e) due to increase in residential gas use, and the energy supply sector, up by 5.9 per cent (11.2 MtCO2e) due to greater use of coal in electricity generation.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, accounting for 82 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. In 2012, UK net emissions of carbon dioxide were estimated to be 474.1 million tonnes (Mt). This was around 4.4 per cent higher than the 2011 figure of 454.0 Mt.

According to the report, the business sector was responsible for 15 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, with carbon dioxide being the most prominent gas. Emissions from this sector primarily relate to fossil fuel combustion in industry and commerce, although emissions of F-gases from the use of  fluorinated compounds in certain applications, particularly refrigeration and air-conditioning, are significant.

Between 1990 and 2011 emissions from F-gases have increased significantly, mainly due to an increase in emissions from refrigeration and air-conditioning as between 1993 and 2002, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were used to replace other, ozone depleting substances which were previously used as refrigerants. This increasing trend has since slowed as tighter controls on emissions leakages have been introduced resulting in a slight increase from 12.2 MtCO2e in 2011 to 12.4 MtCO2e in 2012.

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