CRC - great idea, but is it fair?
The Carbon Reduction Commitment seems like a great idea, both for the environment itself and for the environmental sector.
It's one of those legislative drivers that's going to hit a wide range of businesses and public sector organisations - most of which will need the advice that experts can provide and will have no choice but to seek it.
It should also reduce the amount of energy being used by those who currently use the most.
So far, so good.
But there are a couple of things about the system that irk my sense of fair play.
First off, there's a whiff of double accounting about it. Those organisations that come under its aegis are already paying for their carbon, aren't they?
I mean, they have to buy their energy from companies that are already covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and will inevitably pass on the cost of carbon to their customers.
I'm aware that the CRC is revenue neutral and all that, with everyone paying into a big pot that's then shared out according to how well they perform against their peers.
But organisations will be forced to spend money to avoid losing money by being at the bottom of the league table, so it's not all free and suggesting that it is is misleading at best.
My second niggle is that it appears to penalise those pro-active organisations that have already made inroads into cutting their carbon without needing to have their hands forced by Government.
The baseline is built on the emissions of organisations on a particular date, because that's a whole load simpler than having to dream up some a emissions-per-employee or emissions-per-pound-of-profit criteria that would work for a very diverse bunch of organisations.
I can see why - any other system would be horrible to design and to manage.
But this means that those that have already gone for the low hanging fruit are going to have to dig deep to make further progress, while comparative climate slackers are going to waltz in, roll a bit of insulation across that empty space in the loft and see their league position soar.
The conspiracy theorist in me suspects that this is why Government departments, which will themselves be covered by the CRC, have until now tended to perform rather poorly when it comes to energy efficiency.
Expect to see huge improvements in that area by this time next year, together with the corresponding press releases pointing out how well the public sector is performing compared with business.
Still, mustn't grumble, even if there are apparent flaws in the system, I guess the atmosphere doesn't really care about the justice of how carbon cuts are made.Sam Bond