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Cabinet agrees Climate Change 'Green Deal' - UK 'world leader' in cutting carbon emissions

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The Coalition is expected to announce this week that it has agreed a far-reaching, legally binding "green deal" that will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The package, reported last weekend in The Observer, will, it is claimed, place Britain at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.

Huhne is now expected to tell parliament that the government will accept the recommendations of the independent committee on climate change for a new carbon budget. The deal puts the UK ahead of any other state in terms of the legal commitments it is making in the battle to curb greenhouse gases.

The new budget puts the government on target to meet a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. The committee has said that to reach this target, carbon emissions should be cut by 60% by 2030.

The article says ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology - such as Siemens, Vestas and General Electric - will now be keener to invest in Britain, knowing it is committed to a huge expansion in renewable energy. It is also hoped that the commitment to renewable energy - the committee says 40% of the UK's power should come from wind, wave and tide sources by 2030 - will stimulate new industries.

These would include the development of tidal power plants, wave generators and carbon capture and storage technology - which would extract carbon dioxide from coal and oil plants and pump it into underground chambers. All three technologies, if developed in Britain, could be major currency earners.

The committee's report says the new carbon deal will require that heat pumps will have had to be installed in 2.6m homes by 2025. It also says that by the same date 31% of new cars, and 14% of those on the road overall, will be electric. Experts say a total of £16bn of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment, with some of the money likely to be raised through increases in electricity prices.

Cambium report targets CRC innovation opportunities for suppliers

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I attended the launch yesterday of a new report targetting the sustainable innovation opportunities offered by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

The report, by sustainable innovation specialist Cambium, provides a  systematic analysis of the financial and reputational exposure of the 2,770 so called 'participants' in the CRC Scheme. This reputational aspect is important with the first performance league tables due out in six months time, in October.

The report, which was launched at Intellect in London with attendance from Intellect, hosting specialist Rackspace and the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UKCEED) is aimed primarily at suppliers of innovative technologies that can help the organisations affected by this legislation to reduce their likely tax bills, cut energy use and protect their reputations as well as be able to pomote themaselves as responsible businesses.

Cambium believes the report will be of use to trade bodies and CRC Participants, policymakers and public stakeholders, and investors.

The report features an index which examines public and private sector participants for a range of sustainability and energy reduction related indicators and categorises them as leaders, early majority, late majority or laggards within their sector, providing a measure of their likelihood to invest in and adopt energy saving or other innovative technologies, supporting sustainable economic growth. 

The Cambium study identifies and explores the significant differences between the public and privat sector attitudes to a "carbon" and "social awareness" indicator and makes recommendations for better targeting of the market opportunity by suppliers.

There is a release with more details here

You can get the report here 

Summing up what the Budget means for 'Greentech'

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I was talking to a company the other day that has an interest in the Climate Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation and while we didn't expect any major changes relating to CRC in the Budget, there was a feeling of 'you never know'.

The devil is still in the detail, and more may emerge over the coming days. But it seems there are no changes to CRC announced by George Osborne.

Those 'green' issues that were covered have been well summed up by the Guardian here

 

The end for the Carbon Reduction Commitment?

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It looks as if someone within the government is flying a kite to see what reaction there might be to the ending of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

This article appeared at the weekend, suggesting that CRC could be merged with other taxes following the publication of a number of so-called "discussion papers" for the 5,000 companies due to be affected.

As the piece points out, the news that more changes could be on the way will cast more confusion over the tax, which has been criticised for baffling businesses. It's said, however, that doing away with the CRC would not necessarily mean that companies would have to pay less because its intended effects could be included in another green tax covering a wider number of businesses.

This year's Budget is being held on March 23rd, and I'm told the future of CRC could be up for discussion in government circles around a week before, leading to the possibility that an announcement about the future of CRC - and a new green tax? - could be made in the Budget.

CRC was originally meant to reward companies for reducing their emissions and penalise those who failed to do so. But the Treasury seemed to pull rank on the Department of Energy and Climate Change when it decided to, as the article points out, 'pocket the proceeds meant to go to good performers in order to help reduce the deficit.'

There is a degree of frustration about the government's dithering over CRC, not least from companies who in good faith are trying to develop services around it, but find themselves twisting in the wind as the government goes back and forth over its future. Leaks like the one at the weekend don't help them. And they certainly don't help organisations - and particularly their CIOs and Finance Directors - looking for some policy certainty going forwards. 

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