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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change Levy’

Climate Change Agreements,Climate Change Levy

Unexpected generosity from the Chancellor

ImageOn the tenth birthday of the CCL George Osborne has boosted the discounts enjoyed by organisations in Climate Change Agreements

The Climate Change Levy is now celebrating its tenth birthday. Last year, it raised exactly one-third of a billion pounds (£666m) from large and medium-sized non-residential energy users.

It is generally accepted that the Levy itself has had a negligible impact upon energy consumption behaviour, at least among those who pay at its full rate.

However, few larger users have ever paid the 100 per cent Levy. From the start, discounts have been available to all those business sectors (now 56 in number) that have signed up for Climate Change Agreements (CCAs). Signing a CCA has mostly ensured an 80 per cent Levy discount. This figure was reduced to 65 per cent last year, but has now returned to 80 per cent, and is due to increase to 90 per cent from April 2013.

Climate Change Agreements are a quintessential example of an integrated approach to energy-saving policy. They combine carrots (the Levy discounts), sticks (the threat of full payment for non-compliance) and tambourines (drawing senior management attention to energy consumption).

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Climate Change Levy

Carrots, sticks and tambourines. A programme that ticks all the boxes

ImageYes, it might need some tweaking here and there, but the Climate Change Levy really is a government programme that is exceeding expectations.

This is the story of a government programme that really works. So perversely you never seem to hear any politicians talking about it.

Being of a naturally sunny disposition, my natural propensity is always to concentrate upon initiatives that really do what it says on the can. One such is the Climate Change Agreement policy.

The Climate Change Levy – effectively, the UK’s energy tax – is the longest established instrument designed to affect the business sector, in order to help meet binding international (and now national) climate change reduction commitments.

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Climate Change Agreements,Climate Change Levy,Integrated Policy Approach

Integrated policy approach shows its worth

ImageThe future of Climate Change Agreements beyond this decade lies in the balance. But their worth as an energy-saving tool should not be underestimated or written off.

Across the UK there are over 10,000 different business facilities involved with delivering Climate Change Agreements. Fifty one trade sectors currently receive an 80% tax break, in exchange for delivering agreed amounts of saved energy. The big questions are: does the policy work? Is it value for money?

My conclusion is that these Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) have delivered more energy, hence carbon, savings than a non-interventionist policy would have done – albeit the absolute amounts have been less than originally anticipated. It is likely these could all have been delivered at a lower cost to the public purse, had the original discounts recommended by its progenitor, the 1998 Marshall Report, remained at 50 rather than 80 per cent.

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Building Regulations,Buildings,Climate Change Levy

When passing laws to save energy means putting our heads in the sand

ImageWith carbon dioxide emissions now higher than ten years ago is legislation really having any impact on the fight against climate change? Or are laws being made to be ignored?

Europe is celebrating the 50t anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Twenty seven countries are now members of the Union. And there is quite a line of countries queuing up to join.

Each has been told that, to qualify, certain improvements to current arrangements will have to be made. Like freedom of expression, liberalised markets, fair courts: you know the kind of criteria. It is in both the interests of those in Brussels and those in the aspirant capitals to progress the applications. And so, as the waspish former European Commissioner Chris Patten puts it, the applicant countries pretend to reform; and the European Commission pretends to believe them.

This willing suspension of disbelief has echoes elsewhere. Even as far as energy efficiency policy. So, the Government announces a policy measure. The measure itself involves altering the behaviour of a particular sector. It is stated that, as a result, ‘x’ amount of energy and ‘y’ amount of carbon dioxide emissions will be saved. From then on, it becomes in the vested interests of both sides— government and participating industries—to maintain that the bargain struck has been kept. And that the anticipated savings have indeed occurred. Even when there is little objective proof.

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