Tom Keighley

Member Article

Government “fudging” decision on carbon reporting

The Government has been accused of “fudging” its decision on whether to introduce mandatory reporting for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ministers were expected to present their response to the framework for climate change and greenhouse gas reporting, which will affect up to 33,000 UK companies.

As part of the Climate Change Act 2008, the UK Government is required to use powers under the Companies Act 2006 to make emissions reporting mandatory or inform Parliament why this is not happening by April 6 2012.

A Defra spokesman said: “No decision has been made on introducing mandatory business reporting of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The consultation received a large number of detailed responses, and Ministers have taken additional time to fully consider these responses and other evidence to ensure they make the right decision. An announcement on our chosen option will be made soon.”

Ongoing indecision on the subject is said to be weakening investor confidence, with many calling for swifter action.

Martin Baxter, Executive Director of Policy at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, said: “This is an unacceptable delay. We are extremely disappointed that the Government has failed to reach a decision on whether to make GHG reporting mandatory for business.

“The Government has had 4 years to make a decision, held a number of consultations, and built up a strong evidence base that demonstrates that GHG reporting delivers cost savings for business and environmental benefits. The Government needs to urgently make a decision on this.

“The business and environmental case is clear, growing numbers of businesses support GHG mandatory reporting, and both coalition parties when they were in opposition supported it.

“And yet, the Government is now failing to make a decision, provide clear leadership and the long-term direction that will enable UK businesses to save money and deliver environmental benefits.

“The case is clear - GHG reporting is a win win decision for business and the environment - so why delay a decision any longer?”

Gary Davis, operations director at Ecometrica, a GHG accounting specialist, said: “It’s not a huge surprise really. The government are are keen to reduce the administrative burden on businesses, but at the same time are want to reduce emissions.

“What we don’t want is a return to the likes of CRC, which was expensive and bureaucratic, and didn’t really reduce environmental impacts.”

Raymond Dhirani, finance policy officer at WWF-UK, said: “An overwhelming majority of organisations, businesses and investors agree that mandatory carbon reporting is the right thing to do, but rather than giving certainty to businesses, the Government is simply fudging a decision.

“They have known the deadline has been coming for four years, but with just days to go they seem to be kicking a decision into the long grass by announcing a review of the carbon reduction commitment instead.

“This is yet another delay on MCR that saps investor confidence that the government is serious about a cleaner, greener economy.

“It represents a deplorable lack of leadership. It suggests that the Government simply does not care about providing the level policy framework which would enable companies to measure, manage, and reduce their carbon emissions, they’re just interested in raising revenue.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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