Carbon reduction commitment

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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Climate change agreements revisited

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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…)

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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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Talk is cheap – but so is energy efficiency

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The last time energy efficiency was a high profile issue was during the notorious oil shocks of the 1970s and the three-day week. But here we are again.

This time round, the ‘trinity’ of rising energy costs, supply concerns and climate change policies is providing a new imperative that will be harder to ignore or forget.

The new ENDS special report on energy efficiency shows how far a wide range of both large and medium sized companies have gone on their energy efficiency journey – and how they are reaping rewards in lower energy bills and greater competitiveness.

As the report explains, there is still a huge amount to be done. (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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CRC RIP?

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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. 

Except that it didn’t. It said the emissions trading phase should instead be scrapped to make the scheme simpler. The ENDS Report explores the committee’s recommendations in a recent article. (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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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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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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