Timetable for new emissions trading scheme is too tight

The timetable for the new emissions trading scheme is too tight, according to respondents to the Government’s consultation on the scheme, who prefer that more time is taken to get the programme right.

In light of the comments from the consultation procedure, the Government has launched its draft framework for the emission’s trading scheme, which is now due to start in April 2002. The consultation received a total of 89 responses from sectors of industry both within and outside climate change agreements (see related story), environmental consultants, NGOs, and academic organisations, as well as traders and brokers. The respondents overwhelmingly endorsed the need for simplicity and flexibility within the system, emphasising the need for periodic review. The importance of links with other systems, and broad participation were also recurring themes within the responses.

In light of the difficulty in monitoring sequestration, and the lack of international agreement on the process, there was broad support for the exclusion of sinks from the proposed emissions trading scheme, and seller liability was almost unanimously preferred over buyer liability. Respondents also felt that it should be possible to trade reductions in carbon dioxide emissions due to additional energy efficiency and renewable energy use over and above current obligations.

“Our progress on an emissions trading scheme and the new Climate Change Projects Office (see this week’s related story) show our commitment to helping the UK to capitalise on its leadership in the international climate change arena, and our determination to meet our targets under the Kyoto Protocol,” said Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

A final version of the framework for the emissions trading scheme will be finalised in the light of feedback to the draft, with publication of the final version expected in July. The Government announced in the 2000 spending review that £43 million will be made available from 2003-4 as a financial incentive for companies to join the voluntary scheme.

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