17 November 2010
Joan Walley (Labour, Chair of the Environment Audit Select Committee): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his most recent assessment is of the effect on the reduction of UK greenhouse gas emissions of carbon sink failure.

Gregory Barker (Conservative, Energy and Climate Change Minister): As indicated in my response to the hon. Member’s question, carbon sink failure at the global level is very unlikely. Any weakening of carbon sinks would reduce the global allowable emissions for a given temperature target, but projections for emissions reductions in accordance with a 2° C target take this factor into account. Because we do not expect that global carbon sink failure is a likely scenario it is not expected to have an impact on UK emissions reductions. The UK’s carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act, combine both emissions and uptake from sinks. These are reported via the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory funded by my Department, and increases or decreases in sinks are taken into account in measuring how the UK is meeting its carbon budgets.

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