Government remains ‘firmly committed’ to carbon pricing

The government has pledged that its post-Brexit emissions trading arrangements will cut UK emissions as much as participation in the EU’s emissions trading system delivers.

In its response to the House of Commons’ BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) select committee’s recent report on the UK’s energy and climate change negotiating priorities, the government said it remains ‘firmly committed’ to carbon pricing as an emissions reduction tool.

All options for emission trading are being considered whether or not the UK leaves the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) as part of its wider withdrawal from the EU, according to the report.

“Irrespective of the decision on future UK participation in emissions trading, our future approach will deliver at least as much decarbonisation as our current participation in the EU ETS.”

It said that the timing of the two-year implementation period, proposed by the government, fits with the end of Phase III of the EU ETS.

The response also proposes that energy efficiency standards, which derive in EU law, will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine whether they should be retained, scrapped or beefed up.

And on consumer products, the government has said it will ‘keep step with equivalent standards wherever possible and appropriate’, or even exceed them where it is in the UK’s interest to do so.

Rachel Reeves, chair of the BEIS committee, said that while there were ‘encouraging signs’ in the response on issues like the continued integration of the all-Ireland single energy market, detail was lacking on the UK’s’ future energy relationship with the EU, including its participation in the ETS. 

“The government needs to provide far greater clarity on energy and climate change policy to ensure that industry can plan for the future.

“There is precious little from the Government on two vital areas for our energy and climate change future – the EU Internal Energy Market (IEM) and the EU ETS . The response has scant detail on the UK’s future relationship with the EU IEM or how we may participate in the EU ETS.”