Up until recently climate change has often been described as the greatest challenge of our time although perhaps the world wide recession and the state of the UKs public finances has started to contest that notion.
Now with the commencement of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) looming large for local government these twin phenomena’s may converge to create a perfect financial storm. For authorities who are not at an advanced stage of planning in their response to CRC the monetary consequences maybe about as welcome as a sneezing pig wearing a poncho and sombrero.
The CRC is a mandatory carbon trading scheme and will cover both public and private sector organisations. It is designed to encourage large non-energy intensive organisations in the UK to reduce their CO2 emissions. The aim of the carbon reduction commitment is to reduce the level of carbon emissions by approximately 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2020. As a Climate Change Bill commitment, the scheme is aiming for an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.
Even though the scheme doesn’t officially start until April 2010, local authorities will need to make preparations before that date to ensure that they comply with the requirements. This is something that will require cooperation and coordination across all services within every Council.
By now authorities should have a plan for the coming five years. It is anticipated that low hanging fruit can be gathered in years one and two by turning down heating controls and dimming streetlights however by year three targets will start to dictate that larger energy reduction projects require to come on-stream. Therefore if you are not seriously considering energy from waste initiatives, major insulation programmes or district heating schemes now you really should be.
Once the trading scheme moves to the free market on tonnage costs and government allowances are reduced beyond 2013, the cost implications could be significant for those who have paid lip service to this issue. Emerging strategies and tactics for CRC should make for compulsive viewing.
The vast majority of authorities will commence from the same starting point on CRC and therefore a legacy of excellent performance under CPA will not necessarily act as a guarantee for success on this agenda. Lasting reputations can be made and lost very easily, just look at David Carradine, he was once best known for his role in Kung Fu, well not anymore he isn’t.