EDINBURGH was today named as having one of the worst rates of carbon dioxide emissions among major UK cities.
• Edinburgh emits more CO2 per capita than London.
Only Belfast and Liverpool performed worse than the Capital in a new league table measuring carbon emissions per head of population.
Lothians' Green MSP Robin Harper said a lot of the blame had to go on the lifestyle of Edinburgh's middle classes who drove 4x4s, wasted money on heating and did all their shopping at supermarkets.
He said the city's poor emissions figures were a "wake-up call" to people to think more seriously about how their behaviour affected the environment. A report by the independent research institute Centre for Cities, using official UK Government data, showed Edinburgh's CO2 emissions per head were worse than cities including Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and London.
Mr Harper said: "It's probably a reflection of the fact Edinburgh is quite a rich city and, judging by our streets and car parks, we have a higher proportion of owners of Chelsea tractors.
"It could also reflect the fact that many people have not bothered to insulate their houses because they can afford to waste a lot of money on heating them and they are not feeling the pinch yet."
Mr Harper said the wealthier parts of the population were probably causing more of the emissions than those in the poorer areas.
"If you look at the city's housing estates, where up to 60 per cent of people don't own cars and can't afford to spend a lot on heating, they are probably the greenest people in Edinburgh.
"There will be lots of middle-class people who make a nod towards being green by putting in insulation and double glazing but then heat the whole house rather than just the rooms they're using. They will do their recycling, but then do all their shopping at the supermarket and therefore create more waste than they are recycling.
"This is a wake-up call to those of us who think we are doing our bit, to think a little bit more about what kind of cars we should be buying, how we heat our houses and where and how we shop.
"We really need to look at the culture of easy-going wasteful behaviour that has crept up on us without us even noticing."
A city council spokesman pointed out Edinburgh's per capita carbon emissions were still below the UK average. But he said: "There is more work to be done. This is why we are currently drawing up a climate change strategy and why we have recently introduced food and plastic recycling as part of our wider waste and recycling strategy."