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Utility Week 14 03 14

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16 | 14Th - 20Th March 2014 | UTILITY WEEK Policy & Regulation Market view O pponents of the UK's climate policies oen argue that green measures are forcing the country to cut emissions faster than its competitors. In fact, new anal- ysis says the UK isn't acting alone. According to a report published at the end of last month by the Global Legislators Organisation (Globe international), at least 62 countries around the world are mov- ing ahead with laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and every major economic power has taken some kind of action. Two new papers lay out international progress on emissions legislation. The audit of climate legislation in 66 countries, which together account for 88 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, found that 62 of them have a "flagship law" serving as a "comprehensive, unifying basis for climate change policy". Only a "handful of countries" have not yet engaged with climate change as a policy problem, or fail to see it as a legislative pri- ority. It's not just rich countries introducing law to tackle emissions – developing coun- tries like Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Kenya have also done so as well. The UK government has promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 under the Climate Change Act 2008. It was trailblazing legislation at the time, but how does that measure up against our neighbours and partners six years later? All but one (Turkey) of the UK's main trading partners and competitors have set greenhouse gas emissions reductions or limitation targets, says another report, from the ESRC Centre for Climate Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, released last week. Grantham's report relies heavily on data from the Globe study, but re-analyses the data to focus on what it means for the UK. When pledges different countries have made under the international climate negotia- tions are compared, the UK's commitments are "broadly similar" to other European countries. UK promises to reduce emissions in the late 2020s – expected to be the subject of a political fight this year – also "appear con- sistent" with the European Union's commit- ment to reducing emissions across the bloc by 2030, argues Grantham. There are caveats, however. Unlike UK legislation, not all of the flagship laws are legally binding, or have the statutory force of an act of parliament behind them. The UK places a price on carbon, either explicitly via carbon taxes or implicitly by climate change regulation. When this price is compared with the charges other coun- tries put on carbon emissions, the UK sits at "around the mid-point", the study says. The highest rates are found in European countries with explicit carbon taxes, such as Denmark and Switzerland. The lowest car- bon prices are in Australia, New Zealand and the Americas (see chart). Grantham says carbon pricing is "core" to reducing emissions, even though such charges tend to make up only a relatively small proportion of overall energy prices. The UK's position may fluctuate in the future, in comparison with its friends, allies and competitors, but at the moment it remains part of a leading group of countries, Grantham concludes. This includes most of the UK's trading partners and its targets are higher than many other countries, but they are not necessarily the highest. This article first appeared on Carbon Brief, a website by Robin Webster dedicated to climate and energy news and analysis (www. carbonbrief.org) We are not alone on emissions Some critics claim the UK is making itself uncompetitive in its efforts to reduce emissions, but Carbon Brief cites new research showing that many other countries are doing as much or more. Selected competitor countrieS and their flagShip lawS Jurisdiction flagship climate change law EU Climate and energy package (2008) France Grenelle I and II (2009/2010) Germany Integrated Climate and Energy Programme (2007, rev. 2008) Italy Climate Change Action plan (2007) Japan Law Concerning the promotion of Measures to Cope with ` Global Warming (1998, rev. 2005) Netherlands New Energy for Climate Policy: The Clean and Efficient Programme (2007) New Zealand Climate Change Response Act (2002) Australia Clean Energy Future package/Clean Energy Act (2011) US Clean Air Act (1963, rev. 1976, 1990) Brazil National Policy on Climate Change (2009) China 12th Five-year Plan (2011) India National Action Plan on Climate Change (2008) Mexico General Law on Climate Change (2012) South Africa National Climate Change Response Policy White Paper (2011) South Korea Framework Act on low Carbon Green Growth 2009) eStimated carbon priceS in Selected countrieS, averaged over energy productS and uSerS (£/tco2) Source: OECD (2013); Vivid Economics (2012); Productivity Commission (PC, 2011) Source: Source: Grantham/ ESRC study into how the UK's carbon targets compare with its competitors. Australia Canada China Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Japan Korea New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland UK US 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 OECD PC Vivid

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