Peering through the murk on climate change agreements

Negotiated agreements with energy-intensive industries led to a "massive" reduction in carbon dioxide emissions last year, according to the Environment Department. Much of the reduction stemmed from steel giant Corus' poor business performance. Ministers insist that the figures demonstrate a real and significant improvement in energy efficiency in other sectors, but the scheme's complexity and lack of transparency make it difficult to interpret many of the results. A key concern is that a glut of allowances in the UK emissions trading market may blunt the incentive for companies to invest further in reducing energy use.

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