Carbon Trust calls on government to extend 25% carbon target

New research by the Carbon Trust claims that the Government's goal of cutting carbon emissions by 25% from its central estate by 2015 is "realistic and achievable".

Figures from the Trust’s latest study into public sector carbon targets have revealed that public sector carbon targets have almost doubled in the past five years from 16% to 28%.

As a result, the Trust is calling on the Government to extent its 25% carbon target across the whole public sector.

Findings from the research, unveiled Monday (November 21), offers an analysis of the 472 public sector bodies that worked with the Trust to cut their carbon emissions and make financial savings between 2006 – 2011.

Speaking exclusively to edieEnergy, Carbon Trust head of public sector Tim Pryce, said that the increase in carbon targets set by public sector organisations is a result of the “business case in the public sector getting stronger”, as well as rising energy prices.

Meanwhile, he noted that the leadership element has also been important, saying that “there is a high awareness across the public sector that they should be leading on climate change mitigation”.

Mr Pryce said: “The public sector has a vital leadership role to play in helping the UK to meet its carbon targets. The Government has set itself a 25% reduction target for its own estate, which is commendable. But it is exciting to see leading organisations elsewhere in the public sector matching that level of ambition, and saving the taxpayer money at the same time.

“Based on this evidence, we believe there is a case for this 25% ambition to be taken up by the wider public sector estate to ensure continued delivery on national carbon targets and further cost savings.”

Over the past eight years, the Carbon Trust has worked with more than 2,500 public sector bodies, helping them cut 12 million tonnes of CO2, resulting in a total saving of around £426m through projects that generally pay back in less than five years.

Now, based on projects currently in the pipeline, it has identified a further £2bn in potential cost savings and 80 million tonnes in potential carbon reductions.

Mr Pryce said: “Through our work with public sector customers, the Carbon Trust has identified £2bn of potential savings currently in the pipeline. But this will only be achieved with the right direction, leadership and expert support.”

However, Mr Pryce admitted to edieEnergy that the success of the next five years depends on “what kind of leadership and support the Government puts in place”, adding that a major hurdle for organisations is gaining the cash to invest.

As a result, he said the Trust would like to see increased collaboration between the private and public sectors.

Carys Matthews

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