Government ‘fudging’ carbon reporting

Frustration is surfacing over government climate policy after the news this week that laws to make it a requirement for businesses to report on their greenhouse gas emissions won’t be […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Frustration is surfacing over government climate policy after the news this week that laws to make it a requirement for businesses to report on their greenhouse gas emissions won’t be introduced next month.

The CBI, which represents thousands of businesses across the UK says it is increasingly “frustrated” by the confusion this is causing its firms while one charity is deriding the Government for “fudging” the whole issue.

A report from Defra this week explained why regulations for mandatory carbon reporting (MCR) won’t be introduced by 6 April, as planned under the Climate Change Act 2008.

Defra stated in the report Ministers need extra time to come to a decision: “This evidence gathering process has taken longer than anticipated and the analysis of the results is ongoing as the costs and benefits are fully considered so Ministers make an informed decision.”

Rhian Kelly, CBI’s Director for Business Environment policy said: “The CBI has long called for mandatory carbon reporting and we are frustrated, but not surprised, by this delay.”

She suggested the problem lay with the Government’s emissions scheme: “It would be difficult to bring in mandatory reporting while the unworkable Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) stays in place.”

Instead, Ms Kelly advised scrapping the CRC and replacing the reporting elements of it with mandatory carbon reporting. “This should prove a key driver in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and provide a less complex, costly and bureaucratic process for businesses,” he added.

Environmental charity WWF also believes the CRC is clouding the issue.

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.”

WWF claims figures from Defra which it saw after a freedom of information (FOI) request show almost three quarters of respondents to Defra’s consultation are in favour of some form of MCR.