Rising CO2 Emissions - An Inconvenient Truth

At last week’s Full Council meeting at West Sussex County Council, a motion on climate change and doing everything we can to reduce CO2 emissions was unanimously passed with all Councillors present voting it.  From Crawley this meant three Conservative and two Labour County Councillors backing this motion.

There were dozens of ‘climate change protesters’ present who applauded speeches made about the need to change behaviours and live more sustainable lifestyles. Indeed, one County Councillor pledged to cycle to all future meetings.  That is all good and I support such moves, but when I spoke and stated some facts about the global position and the UK, it drew heckling from these left-wing protesters.

I’m going to repeat these facts here because climate change is a major global problem which needs global solutions, which won’t be achieved without a global perspective.

I’m proud that the UK leads the world in reducing CO2 emissions.  They are down 42% since 1990 and 23% since 2010, mostly due to our move away from coal for our power.  In percentage terms, we are first and our annual reduction of 15 million tonnes in 2017 was the 4th highest actual amount, with the USA’s reduction of 42 million tonnes the highest.

However despite this, 2017’s global increase was over 2% with China’s increase of 120 million tonnes, India’s increase of 95 million tonnes, and the EU’s increase of 42 million tonnes, all drowning out our reductions in the UK.

There is much more for us to do in the UK to further lower our CO2 emissions, especially in relation to transport.  We must continue to lead by example but there is no escaping the reality that until China which is by far the world’s biggest emitter, gets serious about reducing CO2 emissions; that only taking an inward perspective in the UK will not make any difference whatsoever to tackling global climate change. 


Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group

12th April 2019