Whitehall could face hefty CRC bill

Government departments with poor energy efficiency could find themselves in the embarrassing position of being forced to buy carbon credits from better-performing private companies when the Carbon Reduction Commitment kicks in next year.

Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has questioned whether government can realistically meet its own targets of cutting emissions from its estate by 12.5% by 2011.

The committee said decent levels of insulation, solar hot water and combined heat and power units should now be used as standard across government departments but that there was little evidence of this.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment is an emissions trading scheme that will see heavy energy users required to report their carbon footprint and effectively purchase credits to cover their output.

Government estimates the scheme will initially cover around 20,000 organisations.

It will be ‘revenue neutral’ – it will not generate tax income for government – with organisations paying money into a central pot that will then be shared out better performers receiving a bigger pay out than they put in and those with a worse record picking up the bill.

Government has shrugged off the EAC’s suggestions that it will end up towards the bottom of the league table, and out of pocket, saying there is no evidence to support this claim.

Government departments have been frequent targets of campaigns by environmental pressure groups, seeking to highlight their poor energy efficiency.

The best performing central department is the Treasury which cut has emissions by 41.7%.

The worst is the Department for Children, Schools and Families at just 16.3%.

Sam Bond

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