The long awaited
Climate Programme Review emerged on March 28th, with the Budgets commitment
to £50m more to the Low Carbon Building Programme, and its modification
of the Climate Change Levy to include inflation, as key elements. Otherwise,
it was not very radical- in terms of targets.
In Feb. the DTI
and DEFRA had produced a consultation paper setting out projections
for energy and emissions, which they said would ‘form the baseline
for the new Climate Change Programme and will also be used as part of
the Government’s ongoing Energy Review’. They added ‘the
final projections will be used to inform allocations for the next phase
of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (2008 -2012)’.
Clearly a cautious
approach has been adopted on this: a government spokesman told the Independent
(25/3) ‘Last time, Britain went first and the others followed.
This time, what we want to do is see what the others are doing before
we set our targets. But we’ve got a good agenda for reducing carbon
The paper suggested
that CO2 emissions will only drop by around 10% from 1990 levels by
2010, rather than the 20% initially set, although the programme says
that 15-18% will be achieved- saving 7-12 million tonnes of Carbon by
2010. But the UK’s newly announced National Allocation Plan for
the next phase of the EU Emission Trading System only talks of a 3-8mTC
saving by 2010- evidently the DTI concerns about the cost impacts on
industry had been influential.
Michael Meacher, who had been involved with setting the 20% target,
commented ‘Britain once led the EU and the world in our targets
and our radical policies to tackle climate change. It’s very disappointing
that we seem to be holding back now to see what the rest of Europe is
doing before we make up our minds.’
For details of the
Climate Programme see below. For the Energy projections see: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/sepn/euets.shtml
Following its review
of options, DEFRA says that the new Climate Change Programme ‘builds
on the UK’s position of leading the world in promoting global
action on climate change’ and outlines a series of measures to
reduce emissions targets in nearly every sector of the economy.
They had in fact
already been announced in the Budget:
- •a stricter
emissions cap for industry-index linking the Climate Change Levy
to inflation .
- • measures
to encourage the uptake of biofuels in petrol- the Renewable Transport
building regulations- now in place with a new Code of Practice emerging
to improve household energy efficiency- 250,000 new initiatives
- • renewed
emphasis on encouraging & enabling the general public, businesses
& public authorities to help achieve the Government’s
targets- £20m more for energy efficiency over the next two
levels of microgeneration- £50m more for the Low Carbon Building
Carbon Trust’s scheme for small and medium businesses will
receive £5m on top of the £15m allocated in the 2005
DEFRA says that
the programme is expected to reduce the UK’s emissions of greenhouse
gases to 23-25% below base year levels, well over the 12.5 % required
by Kyoto, and reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions to 15-18%
below 1990 levels by 2010- well short of the original national target
of 20%. The new policies in the Programme will, it says, reduce carbon
emissions by some 7-12Mt by 2010. DEFRA says ‘This takes the Government
close to its domestic target of a 20% reduction by 2010. Higher than
anticipated levels of economic growth and the recent rises in global
energy prices which have altered the relative prices of coal and gas
have led to increased emissions and made the target more challenging.’
Margaret Beckett said: ‘This ambitious programme sets out
our plans for tackling climate change at global, national and individual
level. All three are essential. Climate change is a global problem that
needs global solutions. But we must act now to meet our commitments.
This programme contains a package of far-reaching measures that will
affect all the major sectors and sources of UK emissions. But it is
not the last word. There is more that government can and will do to
meet the target. Further contributions could be made by the Energy Review,
a review of measures to improve the sustainability of existing building
and other policies over the coming years.’
DEFRA adds that,
from 2007, the Government will report annually to parliament on progress
on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its future work programme.
It also outlines a continuing liaison programme on international sustainable
development with the G8, EU, & the World Bank.
* The draft National
Allocation Plan for the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
was also made public, but it was rather evasive. DEFRA says it aims
‘to save between 3-8m tonnes of carbon in 2010 (11-29Mt CO2),
depending on the final figures for the total quantity of allowances’.
The consultation on this ends in May. The EU deadline for submission
is Dec. 31st
& savings Household
and personal actions:
* As announced
in the Budget, over the next two years £20m will finance a
major new initiative to strengthen consumer demand for energy efficiency,
working closely with energy suppliers, local authorities and others
to promote and incentivise energy efficiency measures in households.
These measures such as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and
condensing boilers will save an additional 0.3-0.6Mt of carbon in
* Energy suppliers
will carry out an extra 250,000 subsidised installations of home
insulation over the next two years, saving 35,000 tonnes of carbon
and reducing annual bills by around £20m. There will also
be a pilot scheme for the use of ‘smart meters’ to enable
consumers to monitor their energy use and what measures are effective
in reducing it, co-financed with energy companies.
partnership with major retailers and the Energy Saving Trust voluntary
schemes will be introduced in the retail sector to encourage the
purchase of more energy efficient consumer electronics. Better product
design will also be encouraged to tackle problems such as excessive
energy use during “stand by” mode in computers, televisions
chargers, lighting and other products. These smaller appliances
emit 1MtC a year when on standby, costing each household around
£25 a year.
support for the activities of the Energy Saving Trust, the Carbon
Trust and the Climate Change Communications Initiative to raise
awareness about climate change and the action individuals can take
to help tackle it.
DEFRA adds ‘The
Government is committed to leading by example in the way it manages
sustainably its land and buildings. New strategic, stretching and
outcome focused targets will be published later this summer for the
sustainable management of the Government Estate. Targets will be introduced
for climate change and energy’.
A package of measures also being introduced in the building, household,
public and local government sectors include:
- * A new planning
policy statement setting out how the Government expects participants
in the planning process to work towards the reduction of emissions
in the location, siting and design of new development with the creation
of exemplar sustainable settlements in growth areas starting at
Northstowe in Cambridgeshire with 10,000 new homes built to very
high environmental standards with quality local services to promote
- * Updated Building
Regulations (which came into force in April) to further raise the
energy standards of new and refurbished buildings and help to improve
compliance. Taking into account the changes in 2002 and 2005, there
will be a 40% improvement in energy efficiency standards for new
buildings and the opportunity for householders moving into new homes
to see a similar cut in the size of their fuel bills, saving 0.4Mt
carbon (1.3Mt CO2).
- *The introduction
of a Code for Sustainable Homes which presents the opportunity to
achieve higher standards for energy and water efficiency and will
provide clear information and advice for house purchasers and tenants
on the sustainability of the homes they are proposing to buy or
- *The introduction
of Energy Performance Certificates for all buildings when they are
constructed, sold or rented out to provide clear information on
energy efficiency and advice on improvements.
of how to ensure that the local government performance framework
will include an appropriate focus on action on climate change, sufficient
to incentivise more authorities to reach the levels of the best.
- * Setting up
a new revolving loan fund of £20m for the public sector, to
invest in energy efficiency and new £4m local government best
practice support programme, to be launched in 2006-7, to proactively
benchmark the performance of local authorities on climate change
and sustainable energy and target those who need the most help to
raise their performance.
- *A review of
measures to improve the sustainability of existing buildings to
identify the role of possible further incentives, voluntary initiatives
and regulations will be completed later this summer.
- * Continued
action to upgrade the energy efficiency of social and rented homes
and those in fuel poverty through the Warm Front and Decent Homes
programmes. New advice to stimulate the early replacement of inefficient
boilers by those meeting tough standards in building regulations.
of transport fuel sold in the UK will have to come from renewable
sources by 2010 and this will save 1.6Mt carbon (6MT CO2). The Chancellors
further changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty and Company Car Tax should
‘give consumers and businesses an even stronger signal to buy
low carbon cars’. From April 1 a major cross-Government programme
will offset all aviation emissions from official air travel, providing
support for a range of overseas projects, developed through the Kyoto
Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism. This will offset some
0.5Mt of CO2 over the next three years.
Biomass: The Government
will introduce a support scheme for biomass heat in the industrial,
commercial and community sectors, worth between £10-15m in England
over the next two years, saving 0.1Mt carbon in 2010 (0.4Mt CO2).
In his Budget
in March, Gordon Brown allocated a welcome £50m more to the
new Low Carbon Building programme for microgeneration projects; £20m
for energy efficiency, plus £5m for a pilot study of Smart Meters.The
Climate Change Levy will also now be index linked to annual inflation.
And the level of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation has been
confirmed as 2.5% in 2008/9, 3.75% in 2009/10 & 5% in 2010/11.
The biofuel duty incentive of 20p per litre will run until at least
2008-9. The RTFO buy-out price will be 15ppl in 2008-9, i.e. 35ppl
in all, falling to 30p in 2010-11. See p.27
In his March Budget
Brown also said that the new UK Energy Research Partnership (see Groups
in Renew 161) ) will seek £1bn funding for a new National Institute
for Energy Technologies.
allocation of an extra £50m for micropower projects (see earlier),
should make it easier for families, schools, hospitals and other public
buildings to adopt micro-wind and solar PV and micro-CHP.
Malcolm Wicks, told The Independent (26/3): ‘The time has come
to really push this to enable individual citizens to take action on
global warming’, and hopefully householders will be able to
go ahead without planning permission. And Wicks said he would oblige
the electricity companies to buy any surplus power they produced and
he expected electricity companies to pay a good price for it- and
he will investigate if they do not.
Alan Johnson from
the DTI said that the £50m boost for microgeneration programme
and £5m to pilot smart metering also announced in the Budget
‘will help bring about the long-term shift that is needed in
our relationship with the energy we use in our homes and workplaces’.
DEFRA added that ‘£50m will be invested over two years
to fund 25,000 microgeneration installations in public buildings,
such as schools and hospitals’.
the Budget and Climate programme, Wicks outlined the micropower strategy-
Microgeneration Strategy, aims to overcome barriers such as cost,
information awareness, regulatory and technical knowledge that have
historically stood in the way of the sector’s expansion. Measures
* working directly
with industry on a scheme to provide renewable energy in schools;
* carrying out
research into consumer behaviour in relation to microgeneration
technologies and what drives early-adopter purchase decisions;
suppliers to develop a scheme that will reward those microgenerators
exporting excess electricity;
* ODPM are undertaking
an urgent review of local plans to assess the extent to which planning
policy on the development of on-site renewables in new developments
is being implemented. They will also examine how to facilitate the
installation of microgeneration equipment by clarifying the permitted
development status of these new technologies and removing any unnecessary
controls over them;
an accreditation scheme for all microgeneration technologies covering
the product, installation and a Code of Conduct;
* working in
partnership with the energy supply companies and distributed network
operators to ascertain whether the current systems will be sufficient
to cope with growing numbers of microgenerators exporting electricity
and, if not, what steps need to be taken to ensure that we have
a system that facilitates microgeneration yet still meets the needs
of those who have to manage the overall network;
* working with
industry to develop a route map for each microgeneration technology.
Malcolm Wicks commented : ‘By installing micro wind turbines,
fitting solar panels and placing ground source heat pumps in our gardens,
we can save money on fuel bills, help the environment and get back
in touch with where our energy comes from. In days gone by we would
fill our coalscuttle or collect wood for the fire whereas now we just
flick on a switch and expect everything to work. This distance from
our energy sources leads to waste but by having microgeneration technologies
present in our homes and buildings we reconnect with how much we’re
using- and abusing- and find ways of being more efficient with it.’
There has been
extensive consultation with stakeholders on how best to move the sector
forward and the development of the strategy has been positively received
by the Micropower Council, the BWEA, and the Renewable Energy Association.
* The Microgeneration
Strategy document is at: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/environment/microgeneration
While some parts
of the Budget were good news, it only goes part way to mitigate the
disappointing Climate Review, which Greenpeace saw as ‘pitiful.’
Although the £50m micropower allocation was widely welcomed,
the transport side was seen as weak, with nothing on aviation. The
Budget did introduce a new ‘top band’ of Vehicle Excise
Duty for the most polluting new cars (e.g. SUV’s), together
with a reduction in the lowest bands. DEFRA say this will ‘create
much stronger incentives to purchase the most fuel efficient vehicles-
the rate for the lowest emitting cars will be reduced to zero’.
But the relatively small differential is unlikely to deter the well-off
from buying ‘Chelsea Tractors’.
Overall, the Conservatives
said the Budget was ‘brown not green’! It did however
add £3/tonne to the Landfill tax (the annual hike) and linked
the Climate Change Levy to inflation, something the Tories opposed.
However, they were even more disparaging when it came to the overall
Climate Programme which they said was ‘just a series of recycled
announcements’. They added: ‘Launched in 2000, the Climate
Change Programme set the UK on a course to cut carbon emissions by
20% by 2010, a commitment also made in three Labour manifestos and
in the 2003 Energy White Paper. The review today effectively drops
this goal, cutting the UK target to around 15%.’
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment commented: ‘The
Government’s efforts to tackle climate change remain piecemeal,
timid and half-hearted. This was an opportunity for Labour to show
how they intend to lead the world, and they have missed it. Instead
we get fudge and a photo-call. There is nothing new in this review,
just a series of recycled announcements. Ironically there is nothing
on recycling itself.’
Party said it would like to see ‘an overhaul of the UK’s
Climate Change Programme’ which would include:
explanation of UK emissions modelling, ‘explaining in full
assumptions regarding energy efficiency & industry emissions’.
long-term framework, ‘with fixed, enforceable and independently-audited
annual reduction targets’.
* A reformulation
of renewables policy, particularly the Renewables Obligation which
‘has driven investors to the cheapest existing source of renewable
energy (onshore wind) at the expense of developing new and, eventually,
more efficient industries (such as wave and tidal power)’.
approach, ‘considering emissions from all sectors of the economy,
including those from international aviation’.
* A firm
commitment to use the Government estate and Local Authority controlled
buildings ‘to push best practice in renewable energy, microgeneration
and energy efficiency’.
* A firm
push to ‘offset the upfront costs of energy efficiency’,
e.g. through stamp duty or council tax rebates. Also see right.
Whether any of this will be taken up in the Energy Review remains
to be seen...
Scotts miss out?
micropower programme doesn’t it seems cover Scotland, whose
is being reviewed...