Thursday, July 09, 2009

Carbon Reduction Commitment

Is CRC just another tax?

If you’re liable for the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) you should have heard from the Environment Agency by now. This measure will affect about 20,000 UK organisations - public and private - who pay for their electricity via a ‘half-hour’ meter. That’s any organisation with a peak load exceeding 100kW. About 5,000 of these will be spending £500,000 or more annually on electricity, and they will be full participants in the scheme. What does this mean? Any organisation with a half-hour meter will have to report its energy use and its carbon footprint. Not just for the department with the heavy electricity usage, but for the whole organisation including subsidiaries, branch offices and remote sites. Not just electricity consumption, but gas and fuel oil as well. Auditable records must be kept and there are penalties for non-compliance. Reporting starts now and in April 2011 the 5,000 largest users will have to pay for their CO2 emissions at £12/tonne, both for actual emissions in 2010/11 and forecast emissions in 2011/12. How much will that be for your organisation?

So is this just another tax? The government might say not, because in October 2011 it’s going to give all this money back - yes, every penny. What’s the point? On the basis of actual emissions in 2010/11 the government will construct a league table, ranking organisations according to how good they have been at reducing their emissions. When the government returns the levy the best performers will get more than they paid and the worst performers will get less. And the following year the targets will get harder.

This is all part of the obligation under the Climate Change Act to cut CO2 by 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. With UK emissions still growing, even standing still will be difficult. The oil price has been on the rise for most of this year, so energy is going to be expensive to buy and if you use it inefficiently the government is making it expensive to use!

Whatever the size of your organisation, have you got an environmental management system (EMS)? An EMS is a system of procedures and controls providing a framework for the management of energy, resources and waste. It will help you identify your energy usage and carbon footprint, to control them and monitor the savings achieved.

Cyber Associates have the skills and experience to help you design, implement and maintain an Environmental Management System for your organisation to ISO 14001.

More information at

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