We launched a new map today detailed the location of the 930 sites across the UK who are responsible for around half of our total emissions of carbon dioxide. The map, which we are still developing, shows how much each site emitted in 2008 and also how many permits they have been allocated for free by Government to allow them to carry on emitting.
We’ll be adding more features, including search by post-code, and ways of displaying the data in the coming weeks/months and also extending coverage of the map to the rest of Europe.
Our analysis for 2008 shows that overall emissions in the UK were some 50 million tonnes higher than the number of permits handed out for free – around 15 million tonnes less of a shortfall than last year. Interestingly, however, again the only sector with fewer permits than it needs is the electricity sector. All other sectors have received as many or more allowances than they need. The total of this industrial surplus of permits is up on last year – totalling some 15 million tonnes (compared to approx 9m last year). This is partly due to the economic down turn, partly due to over generous allocations in the first place. When spare permits are sold to other would-be polluters the scheme effectively creates an annual subsidy of around £180 million. Essentially a cross subsidy out of the pockets of electricity bill payers and into the hands of heavy industry. The big winners are iron and steel (with 3.4m surplus permits), cement (2.7m), chemical companies (2.4) and oil refineries (1.7m).
We’ll be posting more as we dig further into the data.