United Kingdom Climate Change Legislation

The European Union (EU) has an objective of transitioning to a resource efficient and climate resilient economy and its political commitment is to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Current policies have put the United Kingdom (UK) on track to cut emissions by over a third, on 1990 levels, by 2020.

The Climate Change Act 2008 is the core legislative body that establishes the UK's long-term framework to tackle climate change. The Act aims to encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy in the UK through unilateral legally binding emissions reduction targets. This means a reduction of at least 34 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050. Introducing these carbon budgets will ensure meeting the targets for 2050 and beyond.

One of the initiatives established by the Climate Change Act is the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme launched on 1st April 2010 and effective since April 2011. The CRC is a mandatory scheme aimed at improving energy efficiency and cutting emissions in large public and private sector organizations. These organizations are responsible for around 10% of the UK's emissions. Participants include supermarkets, water companies, banks, local authorities (including state-funded schools) and all central Government Departments. The scheme features a range of reputational, behavioral and financial drivers, which aim to encourage organizations to develop energy management strategies that promote a better understanding of energy usage. Qualification for the scheme is based on half-hourly metered electricity usage of a least 6,000 Mwh in the qualification year.

Each year, a publicly available performance league table will show the CO2 reduction performance of all participants in the CRC scheme. Organizations that cut emissions will reduce the number of emissions allowances they need to buy, giving them a cost advantage to competitors that have not reduced their emissions.

Any organization that does not comply with its legal obligations may face financial penalties. There are also penalties for under reporting. For example, an organization could be fined for failing to register on time, and for each day that it is late registering. Some fines are based on carbon emissions - for example there are fines for every ton of CO2 that is incorrectly reported over the 5% error margin.

Oracle Environmental Accounting and Reporting can provide accurate and complete tracking and calculation of emissions data, along with rigorous internal controls and nimble reporting mechanisms. EA&R guarantees consistency across organizations in how data is collected, retained, controlled, consolidated and used in calculating and reporting emissions inventory. Without the necessary reporting capabilities organizations cannot know if they are truly in compliance.

Sources:
CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme - Department of Energy and Climate Change
2050 pathways analysis - Department of Energy and Climate Change

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