Carbon Reduction Commitment: Why The Game Changes in April 2010

Rudd Government Carbon Pollution Reductions Scheme means Business as Usual
Rudd Government Carbon Pollution Reductions Scheme means Business as Usual - used under CC license from:

I’m becoming increasingly interested in the Carbon Reduction Commitment, especially after a bit of hand-waving by master-hand-waver @monkchips.

Shamefully, I don’t know that much about this important piece of UK policy so I’m going to learn what I can about it and share my learning and insights on this blog (he says confidently). So first things first. From the horse’s mouth:

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment) is the UK’s mandatory climate change and energy saving scheme, due to start in April 2010. It is central to the UK’s strategy for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. It has been designed to raise awareness in large organisations, especially at senior level, and encourage changes in behaviour and infrastructure. The scheme[‘]s amended title serves to better reflect the CRC’s focus on increasing energy efficiency.

So, it’s a very important piece of legislation, aimed directly at the heavy emitters of UK business.

Here are some quick take-away facts:

  • It’s a cap-and-trade framework
  • All proceeds will be distributed amongst participants
  • It will affect around 20,000 UK organisations
  • It’s designed to tackle emissions not covered by either Climate Change Agreements or the EU ETS
  • Performance reporting will be by self-certification
  • The policy comes into force in April 2010

April 2010 – April 2011 is known as the ‘Footprint Year’. This is the year against which future performance (over the 3 year life cycle of the policy) will be judged. Now, call me a cynic but if I owned a heavily-emitting business and knew I was going to be covered by the CRC, apart from the horrendous electric bills I must already be paying, I’d be hard-pressed to find economic reasons to make a big emissions reduction push this year. Surely making cuts this year would just make it harder to comply with the CRC in following years? Why did the government not just choose a year that’s passed already so that we can start making reductions immediately?

Correct me if I’m missing anything here people? Otherwise, stay tuned for CRC – part 2 in weeks to come.