Regulation

Time for mandatory carbon reporting

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The environment department (DEFRA) recently published a consultation on proposals to require larger companies to report their carbon emissions.

But speaking at an event in London on 16 May, Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said he was against mandatory carbon reporting. He argued that the need for companies to protect their reputations and competition between firms was a more important driver of environmental improvements. (more…)

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CRC: Dead man walking?

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Industry lobby groups are calling on the government to kill off the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme.

The recent consultation by the energy and climate department (DECC) on reforming the CRC focuses on ways to keep it intact while simplifying its rules and requirements. Among the myriad options there seems to be a handful of frontrunners.

But in their consultation responses, trade associations including the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the British Property Federation (BPF) argue the CRC cannot be revived. (more…)

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Reading the runes of the CRC review

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The government’s plan to simplify the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme is starting to take shape. In January, the energy and climate department (DECC) published a series of discussion papers.

However, these still allow for a wide range of outcomes, many of which involve huge levels of complexity. On the surface then, there is still not much clarity on offer.

Making a heroic attempt to cut through the complexity, the Sunday Telegraph recently headlined an article: CRC “may be scrapped”. The piece was widely copied on the web. (more…)

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DECC the halls

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December was a month of extraordinarily bitter cold. A snowbound Britain found it hard to get excited about Cancún’s fitful progress towards an international agreement to tackle global warming.

But it was a very big month for Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change.

His first big climate summit. Publication of an Energy Bill, introducing an ambitious scheme to shift billions of pounds of private sector capital into making Britain’s heat-leaky homes much more energy efficient.

And then, just before the Christmas holidays, the unveiling of still more ambitious and highly complex proposals for reforming Britain’s power generation system.

The last thing you could accuse the coalition of is being a one-club player. Instead, it is reaching for a bewildering variety of instruments to persuade investors to spend billions a year on a variety of low-carbon generating plant. (more…)

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DECC is chasing its own tail on CRC simplification

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I think the energy and climate department (DECC) is wasting its time trying to simplify the CRC. There’s no doubt the scheme is extremely complicated, and I’ve every sympathy with energy managers who’ve had to get to grips with it.

But surely its complexity is an inevitable result of trying to create a sophisticated mechanism to encourage energy efficiency among a variety of organisations without putting an undue cost burden on them. At least, that was the idea until last month’s spending review when the Treasury ripped the guts out of it by turning it into a carbon tax. (more…)

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CRC bombshell: bad government, good for the environment

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Before the election, the then shadow chancellor George Osborne used to give speeches about how Labour had given green taxes – fundamentally a good thing – a bad name.

Now, in the heat and rush of the comprehensive spending review, that is exactly what he has done with his last-minute raid on the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (see our coverage).

This was by far the most striking and concrete environment/carbon element of last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review, which left low carbon business largely in the dark. The green investment bank, the renewable heat incentive, investment in carbon capture and storage are all still to play for. (more…)

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Good intentions, wrong kind of cuts

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The phrase ‘greenest government ever’ has become a mantra for the Coalition, not least for David Cameron and energy and climate secretary Chris Huhne. And we are assured that at the heart of the vision is Britain’s commitment to a low carbon future.

Emissions should be cut by at least 34% by 2020 relative to 1990. Low-carbon businesses and technologies should help drive the UK out of recession and towards green growth.

We will see whether these ambitions translate into reality or get lost in a fog of fiscal expediency when the government publishes its spending review in less than a week’s time. (more…)

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Trading away the future

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2010 has been a bad year for the climate.

Not just for climate treaty negotiations – few expect a deal in Cancún in Mexico this December after the failure in Copenhagen last December. But also for the carbon markets that ultimately depend on strong policies.

Huge interests are at stake. Pioneering investors feel let down and are warning they could go to the wall. The uncertainty could go on until Cancún, or even longer.

This is on top of uncertainty over the post-2012 status of the UN clean development mechanism. The CDM’s future is further clouded by European Union proposals to stop many types of UN offsets from entering the EU Emissions Trading Scheme after 2012.

Why should we worry? There are several reasons. (more…)

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Preaching to the converted

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“Follow the carbon, find the cost savings.” This is the take-home message of a new report by analysts Verdantix for the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) setting out why more and more leading companies are defining carbon management as a strategic priority that can help save money, prepare for carbon regulation and protect brand reputation.

Sound familiar? It should. There’s been a steady flow of reports from investors, consultants and analysts in the past few years on how carbon management is moving up the political and business agenda, and how companies who ignore it do so at their peril. (more…)

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Britain’s energy challenge

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Energy policy in the UK is at a crossroads, and the decisions made now will reverberate for decades. At least 43 gigawatts of new electrical generation capacity, equivalent to half of Britain’s current total, will be needed by 2020, as all but one of its nuclear plants are retired and coal-fired power stations closed to meet EU air pollution standards.

A staggering £200bn of investment will be needed not only to maintain energy security against price spikes as North Sea resources dwindle and energy imports grow, but also to deliver the largest single contribution to a low-carbon economy. (more…)

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About this blog

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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