Lots of anger reported today at the government's delay at arriving at a decision on mandatory greenhouse gas reporting. Industry is reported as “blasting” the government for the “unacceptable” delays. At EEF, however, we are very pleased that the government has taken the bold moving of not rushing the decision.
Just to recap. You may recall that under the Climate Change Act the Secretary of State must make regulations to mandate greenhouse gas reporting or lay before Parliament a report explaining why such regulations have not been made. Defra opted for the latter. The report, presented to Parliament yesterday, says that Defra is still considering the analysis of responses to last year's public consultation. It adds that evidence gathering has taken a lot longer than anticipated. No timeframe for a decision to be made was put forward.
We hope this means that the government is minded to take a more strategic approach. Particularly given the announcement in last week's budget that CRC might not be around for much longer. Climate change policies do not work in isolation (something our members know too often, many are subject to three different regimes – CRC, Climate Change Agreements and the EU ETS). We have been campaigning hard for the government to take a step back and take a more strategic view of the policy landscape. Our call for one carbon reduction scheme for manufacturers was set out in last year's Green and Growth report.
While we believe that greenhouse gas reporting can play a role to play in enabling companies to identify, manage and reduce their emissions. However set against the existing complex policy framework it has the potential for creating a compliance headache for manufacturers which does little to help us meet our climate goals.
The government now needs to look at the potential for greenhouse gas reporting as part of a wider review of existing policies and schemes – which must also consider whether the CRC has a future role to play.