Monday, July 30, 2012

Pay CRC PDQ. Is GHG your new USP?

CRC payments are due tomorrow – 31st July – which means the money must be cleared and in the government’s bank account by then.

Although it’s likely that the Chancellor will announce a consultation in September on replacing the CRC, it’s not over yet. The scheme could survive until the end of the first phase, which means that we’ll be reporting – and paying – right through to July 2014.

If the CRC is replaced, something will have to be done to replace the government’s £750m revenue from the sale of allowances.

There’s another consultation out since last week. DEFRA wants your opinion on the Greenhouse Gas Reporting draft regulations. Answers, please, by 17th October.  At the moment the suggestion is that they will review reports by quoted companies in 2015 and consider widening the net in 2016 to include other large organisations. There is no suggestion of financial levies or penalties, but then, CRC was supposed to be financially neutral.

There is already controversy over the GHG Reporting proposals, particularly that no consistent method is required for measuring emissions. This and other concerns are raised in a recent Guardian blog. The idea of reporting is that shareholders and stakeholders will be made aware of the risks that the reporting companies face and presumably will encourage them to act responsibly. Doesn’t all this sound incredibly laid-back? Doesn’t it sound as though we’ve got all the time in the world?

So how is the government going to maintain or replace its CRC revenues? In the short term, while the scheme still exists, it could get the goose to lay as many golden eggs as possible by raising the price of carbon allowances. Watch out for the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in October! Or maybe they’ll follow the example of the Australians, who are now taxing major CO2e emissions from landfill at AU$23/tonne (£15.35). Or perhaps they’ll do both. But will it really make a difference?

Managing emissions is only one part of sustainability. I’ve just published a review of the issues called Sustainability Works. You can buy it for your Kindle here for only £1. Or if you’d like a free copy send me an email and I’ll let you have a link to the pdf version.

Something to read on holiday – and if you’re going on holiday have a good one!



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