Budget 2013: Osborne rolls out support for fossil fuels
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The fledgling shale gas industry in the UK was one of the "winners" in George Osborne's fourth budget, with the chancellor announcing that he will introduce a "generous" new tax regime to support the exploration of unconventional sources of gas
“Shale gas is part of the future. And we will make it happen,” declared the chancellor. He promised that new planning guidance on shale gas would be available by the summer, and that an effective planning system would be established by the end of the year to help develop the industry.
Osborne also pledged to bring forward, by the summer, specific proposals to ensure that local communities benefit from shale gas projects in their area.
Cuadrilla Resources, the first company to explore shale gas reserves in the UK, welcomed the plans. “The government’s decision to introduce tax reforms for shale gas will greatly incentivise companies such as Cuadrilla that are undertaking and investing in exploration work,” commented chief executive Francis Egan.
Companies using large amounts of energy also received a boost from the chancellor, who told MPs that he will introduce exemptions from the climate change levy (CCL) for energy used in metallurgical and mineralogical processes from 1 April 2014.
“Creating a low-carbon economy should be done in a way that creates jobs rather than costing them,” he said. Osborne also promised further measures in the next spending round to help energy intensive industries (EIIs) cope with rising energy costs.
New analysis by Decc reveals the impact of the government’s energy and climate change policies on companies’ energy bills. Medium-sized businesses currently face energy costs that are, on average, 21% higher as a result of such policies, said the energy department.
Energy costs for large energy-intensive users are currently between 1% and 14% higher, on average, and could be 36% higher by 2020.
Energy secretary Ed Davey said the exemptions from the CCL announced in the budget and plans by the government to compensate EIIs for some policy impacts would help address rising prices.
“Nothing would be gained from forcing industry, jobs and emissions abroad,” he said.
The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.
Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.