Headlines: July 17th, 2008

Carbon emissions from schools will be included in a carbon trading scheme for local authorities from the Spring of 2010. The move means that energy use in schools buildings will be counted in councils’ total emissions under the mandatory Carbon Reduction Commitment set up to encourage local authorities to reduce emissions.

Councils will now be expected to provide help and advice to schools cutting both their energy bills and their carbon footprints. The announcement was made by the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, as new figures showed that nine out of ten children think their schools could take steps to tackle climate change.

“Bringing schools into the carbon footprint of local authorities taking part in this scheme will encourage greater energy efficiency, with children seeing the results in their own schools,” Mr. Benn said. Individual schools will simply have to supply information on their annual energy use to their local authority.

The survey of young people’s attitudes to climate change also found more than three-quarters of them believed it was due to human behaviour and the same number felt their own homes could use less energy. A third of respondents felt Britain was already being affected by climate change and 42 per cent said they were taking personal action to reduce emissions. Of those most are recycling or consciously creating less waste.

Mr. Benn said, “The enthusiasm and passion of young people for protecting the planet they will inherit gives us all hope for the future – and we have a duty both to live up to their expectations and to help make the changes we need.”

Supermarkets, hotel chains, universities, water companies and Government departments will be among about 5,000 large commercial and public sector organisations taking part in the reduction scheme. It will be revenue neutral, with the best performers being rewarded financially for their efforts.