The Carbon Trust, the environmental organization that helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint and which is backed by the British government, could be disbanded, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
The British government is looking for cost-cutting opportunities as it seeks to pare down its public debt. The recommendation to shut down the Carbon Trust is part of a larger recommendation by Bob Wigley of Merril Lynch, who was commissioned by energy and climate minister Greg Barker to find ways to fund the government’s proposed Green Investment Bank.
The Green Investment Bank initiative will be tasked with organizing financing for new environmental initiatives. Existing environmental organizations including the Carbon Trust, the Technology Strategy Board and Marine Renewables Deployment Fund would be folded into the new bank. According to Business Green, the previous government had considered funding the new initiative through the sale of government assets. David Cameron’s new government, however, is looking to use those funds to pay down the country’s debt, and is searching for ways to fund the initiative through existing programs.
Ministers within the Conservative government are said to be skeptical of the Carbon Trust. Barker was quoted in the Times as saying that even though many government-backed initiatives are doing good work, the landscape has become too crowded and could be more effective if it were consolidated into fewer organizations. Other politicians have said the large number of initiatives have led to significant overlap in responsibilities. The UK manufacturing lobbying group EEF, meanwhile, has called for a review of the Carbon Trust by the government in order to make it more effective and credible among manufacturers.
Although Wigley’s report has not been published yet, it is expected to recommend a reduction in green subsidies. The report also recommends that subsidies be applied over longer time periods, with outright grants being replaced with loans, which could increase incentives for pension funds and other vehicles with extended investment horizons to get fund such projects.
A report by the National Audit Office had previously criticized the Carbon Trust for having a limited impact.