UK offsetting assurance scheme to close

20th May 2011

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  • Management ,
  • Carbon Trading ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Business & Industry



The government programme to boost confidence in carbon offsetting will close after just two years as DECC withdraws funding.

The Quality Assurance Scheme for Carbon Offsetting (QAS) was launched by DECC to help consumers and businesses wanting to offset carbon emissions to be sure the credits they were buying were genuine.

Organisations offering offsets were audited against the QAS requirements by a third party and provided with government approved status.

However, only nine companies have registered with the scheme since its launch, resulting in DECC part-funding the scheme over the past 12 months.

In a letter sent today (20 May 2011) DECC confirmed it will no longer provide financial support for the QAS and that it will close on 30 June 2011.

The letter explains that the decision forms part of plans by DECC to realign its resources with department. “DECC’s management board and ministers have had to make some difficult decisions about the future funding of the department and it means that some work will no longer be funded. Unfortunately the QAS is one of these,” states the letter.

Reacting to the news Nick Blyth, IEMA’s senior adviser on climate change, said that DECC must continue to provide guidance on offsetting.

“Through the QAS, DECC started to address some of the confusion companies and professionals had when it comes to using and purchasing carbon offsets. The scheme, however, has not grown to be self-sustaining and clearly many have remained sceptical.

“Moving forward it is essential that DECC will continue to promote clear environmental advice in this area and that offset providers also address the genuine concerns of environmental practitioners – 89% of IEMA members feel that concerns and confusion exists around ‘credible carbon assurance schemes’.”

In closing the scheme, DECC says it believes that the wider carbon market should now set best practice for offsetting.

The news of the closure came the day after DECC published its Delivery Review, which confirmed that from 2012/2013 the department would no longer be providing funding to the Carbon Trust or the Energy Savings Trust.


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