THE UK's real impact on global warming has been hugely underestimated, according to new research out today.
A report published by Christian Aid reveals millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases produced by some of the UK's top firms are not being declared.
Almost 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - equivalent to around one-third of the UK's currently declared annual emissions - is missing from the annual reports of major companies on the London Stock Exchange. But these "missing millions" are only a small fraction of total undeclared emissions.
The report, published to mark the start of the charity's new climate change campaign, suggests emissions associated with FTSE 100 company activity worldwide amount to 12 to 15 per cent of the global total.
This figure contradicts Tony Blair's claim the UK produces around 2 per cent of the world's carbon emissions.
Christian Aid found only 16 out of the 100 companies on the FTSE 100 index properly report their basic emissions according to established standards.
Andrew Pendleton, Christian Aid's senior climate change analyst, said: "The figures companies currently declare are such a mess it is impossible to calculate total emissions. We need clear reporting standards across the board."
But John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said a mandatory reporting standard would be "impractical".
• The world's largest general scientific society last night called global climate change a "growing threat to society".
It is the first consensus statement of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the issue.