U.K. Industry Beats Gov't Emissions Target

U.K. Industry Beats Gov't Emissions Target

British industry last year cut the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment by 14.4 million metric tons -- more than double the target set by the government.

Major manufacturers who are big users of energy reduced their 2004 emissions of CO2 -- the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change -- by 8.9 million tons more than the minimum signed up to.

Firms are offered an 80% discount on their climate change levy if they meet the targets.

The biggest cuts were achieved in the steel, aluminium, cement, and chemicals sectors. Paper and food manufacturers also made major improvements in energy efficiency.

Tony Blair has said climate change is the "single most important issue we face as a global community."

Meanwhile, the government has launched a consultation on its proposals for the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Emissions trading is central to the U.K.'s plans to tackle climate change. It gives industry an incentive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while enabling them to do so at least cost.

This phase will run from 2008 until 2012 and coincides with the first Kyoto commitment period.