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Assembly failing on climate change
Ymddiheuriadau. Dim ond yn Saesneg mae rhai o ddatganiadau i'r wasg Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru ar hyn o bryd. Gellir cynnal cyfweliadau gyda'r wasg yn y Gymraeg neu'r Saesneg.
Assembly failing on climate change
New figures  show that the Welsh Assembly Government is failing to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas causing climate change. This is despite a commitment by the Assembly to support a UK target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010 .
According to Government data released this month, emissions of carbon dioxide in Wales in 2003 were higher than in 1990. In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland there had been a slight fall during this period. All figures, though, demonstrate that the UK is falling well short of the 20 per cent target.
In Wales, there have been increases in carbon dioxide emissions from power generation, transport and homes while there have been reductions in commerce and industry .
Although there has been a decrease in some of the other greenhouse gases, such as methane, environmentalists argue that making big reductions in carbon dioxide is the key to successfully tackling the problem of a changing climate.
Gordon James, Assembly Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Cymru, said:
"Reductions in the overall level of greenhouse gas emissions is very welcome  but substantially reducing carbon dioxide emissions is the main battle and we are losing it.
"Fine words on climate change from the Welsh Assembly Government are not being matched by action. Too many of the Assembly's policies are still little more than 'business as usual' with a few green edges added.
"And the situation in the Assembly is not helped by some members of the Conservative party jumping onto the ill-informed wind-bashing bandwagon.
"Scientific evidence is now regularly spelling out the severity of the problem we face, warning that we have already passed the point where some climatic changes are irreversible . Politicians of all parties need to wake up to the threat posed by a changing climate and have the courage to take tough decisions that will halt this complacent drift to disaster.
"There needs to be far more emphasis on saving rather than wasting energy, on traffic reduction and public transport, and on developing cleaner sources such as wind, water, solar and biofuel energy. There would be no place for a Gwent levels motorway or for inefficient LNG power stations in such a strategy."
Earlier in the year, Friends of the Earth Cymru wrote to AMs setting out a series of measures that the Assembly could introduce to improve its performance on the issue. These included a public awareness-raising programme, more direct funding for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme, the building of tramway systems in Cardiff, Newport and the valleys, and the setting up of a climate change unit at the Assembly.
Research undertaken by Friends of the Earth shows that UK carbon dioxide emissions rose again last year and are on a continuing upward trend with a two and a half per cent rise in the first six months of this year. The organisation is promoting a Climate Change Bill in parliament, which has already won the support of almost 242 MPs, that would require the government to make year-on-year cuts of three per cent in carbon dioxide emissions.
1.'Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 1990-2003' produced by the National Environmental Technology Centre for DEFRA, the Scottish Executive, The National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment (September 2005). This details how carbon dioxide emissions in Wales have risen by 0.2 per cent since 1990 while emissions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland declined by 6.9 per cent, 7.7 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively. All these figures are disappointing as the UK should have achieved much greater reductions by now in order to meet its 2010 target and to realistically address the climate change problem.
2. In May 2000, the National Assembly for Wales adopted a motion "to work in partnership with the UK Government, the Scottish Executive and the Department of Environment (Northern Ireland) to deliver the Kyoto target of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008 - 2012 and a domestic UK goal of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions below 1990 levels by 2010."
3. Carbon dioxide emissions, between 1990 and 2003, increased from power generation by 21 per cent, from homes by 13 per cent and from road transport by seven per cent while those from commerce declined by 29 per cent and from the manufacture of solid fuels by 48 per cent. (Table 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory report)
4. Reductions in emissions of the other greenhouse gases - methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride - are often easier to achieve or are the consequence of changing practices in agriculture or industry. Methane emissions, for instance, declined by 34 per cent during this period as a result of the decline in coal mining, fewer livestock numbers on farms and the use of methane recovery systems on landfill sites. Emissions of perfluorocarbons decreased by 78 per cent mainly as a result of improved control measures in the aluminium industry.
5. On August 11th, the New Scientist reported that research in Siberia showed that the world's largest peat bog is melting and that this could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. This process is regarded as a 'tipping point' beyond which warming becomes irreversible. On September 16th, the media reported the detection, by scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre at the University of Colorado, of a massive loss of Arctic ice. The scientists fear that this is another 'tipping point'. On September 29th, the UK's Natural Environment Research Council's Centre for Global Atmospheric Modelling reported that, during the 2003 heatwave, plants produced more carbon dioxide than they absorbed from the planet. This means that ecosystems that currently absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere may in the future produce it, adding to the greenhouse effect.