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Carbon Emissions

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress has been made on developing a carbon accounting framework. (255139)

We are developing a carbon accounting system for UK carbon budgets pursuant to sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Climate Change Act 2008. A consultation on our proposals for this system closed on 19 January, and we are currently analysing responses. We plan to lay regulations implementing the system in the spring, alongside the regulations setting the level of the first three carbon budgets.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the objectives are of developing a carbon accounting framework. (255140)

A carbon accounting system is required to determine compliance with the carbon budgets and targets in the Climate Change Act 2008. It will set out the detailed rules for calculating the “net UK carbon account”, which must not exceed the budget at the end of each budget period. This will include determining which types of carbon units can count towards the account, the circumstances when carbon units can be credited to and debited from it, and the system that will keep track of the units.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will encourage local authorities to switch from burning fossil fuels to burning wood pellets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (258277)

The Government’s Biomass Strategy, published in 2007, and the 2008 consultation document on the Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy, issued by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, discuss the potential impacts on air quality from the use of biomass for local heating. These recognise the benefits in carbon reduction from the use of biomass, such as wood pellets, over fossil fuels such as coal or fuel oil, but that in some cases, this would result in increased emissions of air pollutants. The consultation document sets out ways the Government are seeking to facilitate uptake of biomass heat without compromising air quality or public health. A final strategy is due to be published later this year.

Copies of the published documents are available on the Department’s websites:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/ENVIRONMENT/climatechange/uk/energy/renewablefuel/pdf/ukbiomassstrategy-0507.

http://renewableconsultation.berr.gov.uk/