2010 August

Whitehall economists don’t get it

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Be careful what you wish for.  When the Government Economic Service agreed to co-host an exploratory meeting with the soon-to-be-disbanded Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) we were delighted.  It had all the hallmarks of a meaningful engagement with a key government service.  The aim of the exercise (or so we thought at the time) was to improve guidance on sustainable development in the government’s ‘green book’: the economic bible for assessing the merits of public sector investment projects.

In the Commission we saw it as the first step in a succession of reviews: first we would have the ‘green book’, then the ‘blue book’ – the guidance on national economic accounts (including GDP) – and finally the ‘pink book’ – the national guidance on investments and assets accounting (including the rapidly rising public debt). (more…)

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Slouching toward Karachi

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Pakistan is experiencing the worst floods in its history. 20 million people have been displaced. Many have died. More will die. The waters have washed away more than homes and livelihoods, they have washed away years of investment in the public infrastructure that makes development possible. With it will have gone all confidence in the government.

Russia recently announced a ban on the export of grain. This is a consequence of its hottest summer on record. What harvest the fires did not burn, the drought destroyed. Grain production this year will be a third less than usual. (more…)

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Further reading: greener trains and footing the carbon bill

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Tweaking national policy statements: a waste of energy?

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Energy efficiency should be at the centre of UK energy policy by now. The so-called fifth fuel has always been the cheapest and best environmental option.

To be fair, there are a number of coalition proposals afoot for the Autumn that will further the cause: the extended Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, a Renewable Heat Incentive and a Green Deal that will see home energy efficiency upgraded through long-term loans paid for by savings on bills, to name the key ones. (more…)

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Climate talks – mending the ‘broken record’

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The latest inter-sessional climate talks at Bonn revealed just how much the future of global climate and energy action still hangs by a thread – and a badly frayed one at that.

Until now, the international offset market has limped along despite the looming threat of a gap between the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period, which ends in 2012, and the beginning of a new global agreement. There had been signs of a recovery in momentum at the June talks in Bonn (ENDS Report July 2010), with progress on rationalising negotiating texts. (more…)

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The Daily Telegraph belatedly discovers the CRC

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We really are deep into the silly season. It’s actually turning out to be a desperately serious season around much of the globe, with terrifying and lethal weather events in Russia, China, Pakistan and West Africa which might or might not reflect man-made climate change.

But in the UK, the Daily Telegraph decided the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme is today’s ’splash’ – its most important front page story – under the headline Business facing a wave of green taxes.  BBC Radio 4’s Today programme also gave it a mention. (more…)

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Further reading: hackers and lower carbon cars

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Simplify the CRC but don’t drop the cap!

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The air has been thick ahead of the summer parliamentary recess with talk of a fundamental review of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme. Some are even calling for it to be scrapped altogether.

The smart money, though, is on simplification, mooted as a possibility by energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne in his July annual energy statement. That is something most businesses would welcome wholeheartedly in principle. There is much less agreement on how. (more…)

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Further reading: carbon reporting, CDM projects and efficiency retrofits

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UK business alliance calls for mandatory carbon reporting

Record number of Clean Development Mechanism projects rejected

UK’s largest coal-fired power station could switch to biomass

Business energy efficiency retrofits recommended

Carbon footprinting tool launched for printers

China now the world’s biggest energy consumer

Scotland’s spending priorities for cutting carbon put under the microscrope

US businesses could benefit massively from a price on carbon

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The ENDS Carbon & Energy Efficiency blog provides news and comment for carbon and energy management professionals in business and the public sector, covering the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme and other carbon and energy management and regulation issues. The blog is part of the ENDS Report Carbon & Energy Efficiency channel.

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