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…)
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in March has cast a shadow over plans for new nuclear power capacity globally, and it is too early to say whether this will fade with time. But it’s also having much wider indirect consequences which could yet cause a shift in Europe’s energy and climate policy and complicate global climate talks.
Many of the accident’s extreme circumstances were unique to Japan, so there may or may not be lessons to learn in other countries. But, rightly or wrongly, that message is rapidly becoming politically irrelevant amid the understandable trauma. (more…)
Conventional wisdom among climate policymakers holds to the idea that greenhouse gas mitigation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy targets will combine to deliver the EU’s 20% emissions reduction goal for 2020 relative to 1990, with a higher 30% target still on the table.
But the reality is that there is a long-standing and unresolved tension at the heart of the EU’s 2008 20/20/20 energy and climate package. And the bloc’s roadmap for 2050 (ENDS Report, March 2011), aimed at cutting emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990, has brought matters to a head. It’s not just about whether to go for 30% or a near offer, but about how the three elements work together, or do not.
The European Commission is deeply concerned that a renewed drive for energy efficiency, together with a continuing surge in renewable energy investment across the EU, will undermine carbon price signals in phase III of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) from 2013. Already in Germany, the power sector is battling low profitability from its conventional power plants which must now power down inefficiently when renewable electricity is available. These utilities are struggling to find the cash to invest in the vast amount of new low-carbon plant needed to decarbonise its grid, not least in back-up and baseload plants. (more…)
Latest thinking by the energy and climate department (DECC) over climate change agreements (CCAs) smacks of blue-sky thinking. It has floated ideas not only to reform but even potentially to scrap the instruments. The government should be careful before reinventing this particular wheel.
Last December, DECC organised a closed workshop including representatives of sectors covered by CCAs to discuss their future. It released a report on the meeting last week.
There is general consensus that CCAs need reform. The voluntary agreements to cut emissions now signed with 52 industry sectors have various shortcomings. These include difficulties with monitoring and benchmarking of progress and an uneasy mixture of absolute and relative targets in different agreements. (more…)
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…)
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…)
On Friday, the Committee on Climate Change was supposed to advise the government on how tightly it should cap carbon emissions under the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme when full cap-and-trade is introduced in 2013.
“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…)
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…)
The chances of even an outline global climate deal at Cancun in December 2010 look slim after America’s Democrats failed to garner the 60 votes needed for a cap and trade bill in the dying days of July. Short of a miracle, President Obama will in effect go naked into that conference chamber.
The passage of the House of Representatives bill in 2009 was a high watermark (ENDS Report, May 2009). Since then, the US Senate, which must also get a version through before a unified bill can pass into law, has struggled against strong fossil fuel interests (ENDS Report, June 2010). (more…)