11. May 2011 17:30
I attended an excellent round table discussion this morning organised by Reform, where Greg Barker, the Climate Change Minister was the main speaker.
It was very encouraging to hear a DECC minister say things like “manufacturing is vital to rebalancing the economy” and “more must be done to support manufacturers”. For too long now EEF has been trying to get the message across that in order to have a UK low carbon economy, you need to have a vibrant economy, one which manufacturing, even energy intensive manufacturing, is supported and encouraged by government.
The short term test for government is what is said next week in terms of how it responds to the fourth Carbon Budget (2023-2027) recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change. Will it adopt the proposed budget of 1950 MtCO2e, that incorporates a tightening of the UK targets to 2020 which would replicate an EU move to -30% to 2020. If it does without any caveats, then we are in trouble and totally out of step with the rest of Europe, let alone the rest of the World. The unilateral cost increases to our economy would be significant and certainly not encourage investment in the UK. More so, it would provide a low carbon market that only overseas based companies (who aren’t subjected to costly climate change policy) could capitalise on.
We need long term policy certainty that aligns itself with investment cycles of industry. We need targets to be realistic and affordable, as deindustrialisation is not the answer and we need government to be working with manufacturing to ensure that the UK manufacturing base grows in a low carbon way and is seen as world class.
Government is saying the right things, but the coming months will be the test to find out if it will do the right things. Mr Barker, if you mean what you say, then we as manufacturers welcome that DECC is listening to our concerns.
24. September 2010 12:16
So another voice has been added to the many that are calling for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to be simplified. However, this is not just any voice, but the influential voice of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Its report published today, echoes what various groups, including EEF, have been saying for sometime now, that the scheme is "very complex". The first casualty could be the intended ‘cap and trade’ element, which the CCC recommends should be scrapped. This is music to my ears, as I believe this part of CRC will merely add unnecessary costs and complexity burden onto businesses without significant reductions of carbon emissions. Indeed increased costs to manufacturing companies that are still struggling out of a deep recession.
Government must not under estimate the importance of combining a carbon tax with Greenhouse Gas reporting, in driving change within organisations. There should be a greater focus on the reporting element of the scheme, centred on Defra’s carbon reporting guidelines, published last year. This should not be a wasted opportunity for Defra to promote a uniformed reporting methodology across sectors.
The CCC calls for a splitting the League Table into public and private sectors. Of course this is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t go far enough. The government must enable companies to highlight the positive steps they are taking to reduce emissions. This good news narrative must be positioned at the forefront of the table, rather than a focus on absolute emissions. The current narrow focus of the League Table will lead to false results and will not acted as a driver for organisations to become more carbon efficient throughout their operations.
A simple change that government must make as soon as possible, one that would reduce the administrative burden significantly, would be to remove the requirement for organisations not caught by the scheme, to positively prove that they are exempt.
This is certainly one to keep watching and I am pleased to see that the voice of manufacturing is being heard within this debate in today’s Telegraph.