Tuesday, 4 November 2008

UK Legislation and the Public Sector

Well the UK Climate Change Bill has now been passed by both UK Houses of Parliament. There's some further debate around amendments to the Bill, due to be completed on November 17th, but then all that's left is for it to get the Royal Assent (Queen's signature). It's pretty historic in that the UK will be the first country in the world to have ambitious climate change targets built into law.

The targets got tougher as well. It is now an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, compared with 1990 levels and there is an amendment that demands that aviation and shipping be included by 2012 or the Government has to say why not. (I'll give more details when the legislation is done and dusted)

It's all very well coming out with targets, but what is not so obvious is the actions that go with them. For example, despite the intention to include aviation in the emissions targets in the future, the government is also set to approve a third runway at Heathrow, the world's largest international airport. The same is true of public sector IT, which really should be taking the lead, rather than dragging its feet. In fact I had a conversation along those lines yesterday with one of the leading IT services companies. It's offering to help the government get some measure on its total carbon footprint, the very first place to start.

The government is not slow in helping the rest of the business community, though. In another announcement the British Standards Institute (BSI), The Carbon Trust and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have launched a new standard aimed at providing companies with the tools to assess greenhouse gas emissions across a products life cycle. PAS 2050 (Publicly Available Standard 2050) will assess embedded emissions from sourcing raw materials through to packaging and distribution and consumer use and disposal impacts.

© The Green IT Review

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