CRC muddle delays CO2 scheme
Economic competence? Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, has effectively reversed one of the Chancellor’s more worrying announcements in the CSR – taking £1bn in taxes from the Carbon Reduction Commitment rather than recycling the revenues to energy efficient firms in the scheme. No wonder employers – and the TUC – were annoyed. We were all fully consulted on how the revenues should be used and said they should be recycled. That’s why the system was set up this way.
What a mess. A scheme that was due to begin to save up to a million tonnes of CO2 emissions from the UK’s largest service sector employers, from hotels and supermarkets to hospitals and local authorities, is deferred til 2013. Really bad news for the CO2 targets, creating confusion among those of us who have worked hard to support a greener economy.
Huhne told the CBI: “Today we have published a UK-wide consultation on delaying the start of Phase II of CRC. This means that participants won’t need to register for Phase II until 2013. … Today, I can reveal that we are proposing to exempt over 12,000 information declarers from the scheme.” Phase two is when CO2 allowances are capped and traded.
Apparently, business leaders are relieved. The CBI was right to say that the CRC needs to get back to its orignial purpose as an effective tool for encouraging energy efficiency, and not just another tax.