New inquiries into carbon policy

Two parliamentary inquiries into the effects on government policy of the Stern review were announced in December.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee will examine the review’s implications for Treasury policy on environmental taxation, and the extent to which it uses such taxes to influence behaviour rather than raise revenue.

It will also assess the design and parameters of the economic modelling used in the review, particularly the discount rates used for the future value of capital.

The Commons Environmental Audit Committee, meanwhile, is holding an inquiry into December’s pre-Budget report.

The inquiry is also examining the ramifications of the Stern review, the tax and incentive regime for biofuels, measures to reduce carbon emissions from buildings, and support for low-carbon technologies such as microgeneration and carbon capture and storage.

It will also assess companies’ environmental reporting requirements, following the abolition of the proposed Operating and Financial Reviews last year.

The Committee has announced two other inquiries. One will explore the growing concern about the rapidly expanding market for voluntary carbon offsets. In particular it will examine the issues of proving additionality, of verification and monitoring, and the permanence of the offset.

The second inquiry, the latest in a series into trade, development and the environment, will assess the role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in delivering the UK’s environmental objectives.

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