A report published by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee warns that the UK Government is not on track to meet targets for cutting its own emissions and could have to pay money to large private sector firms � who may have done more to reduce their emissions � in a new carbon trading scheme due to begin in April 2010. The Committee's latest report on Greening Government also shows that the proportion of renewable energy used by Government departments has dropped in the last year. The report welcomes improvements in some areas, such as on government road vehicles, where emissions have been cut by 10.3%. But MPs are concerned that the Government is not doing enough to reduce energy use in its buildings � which account for the bulk of emissions - and will therefore fail to meet its target of a 12.5% reduction in carbon dioxide by 2010/11. This could mean taxpayers have to pay for large amounts of carbon allowances under the Carbon Reduction Commitment � a carbon trading scheme which covers businesses, local authorities and public sector organisations above a certain size. Tim Yeo MP, Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: "Unless the Government gets its house in order taxpayers could end up paying a heavy price to buy carbon credits from the private sector. In too many areas, like emissions of carbon dioxide from offices, it has made little or no progress and in others it is backsliding. Cutting Government energy bills with better insulation, solar panels and new heat and power boilers could save us lots of money in the long run-but Ministers have so far lacked the vision to invest for the future. Carbon dioxide emissions from offices � by far the largest source of emissions on the Government estate � have only been reduced by 6.3% since the baseline year of 1999-2000. The proportion of renewable energy used by Government dropped from 28.3% in 2006-2007 to 22% in 2007-2008. And recycling rates dipped from 38.5% in 2006-2007 to 35% in 2007-2008. The Committee is unconvinced by the Government's claim that it will 'exceed' its target of a 12.5% carbon emissions reduction by 2010-11. Tim Yeo went on to say: "The Government's enormous buying power should be used to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy and boost the number of people in green jobs. Ministers and top civil servants are accountable for this agenda and their performance needs to improve dramatically. Leadership on these issues is crucial � the Government can't have one prescription for the country and another for its own operations."


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