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'Greenest government ever': are we really still waiting for mandatory reporting?

By Laura Trevelyan | 4 April 2012

In 2007, a week after I joined Christian Aid, we launched a campaign calling for the government to require UK-listed companies to report their carbon emissions to an agreed standard.

Since then 60,000 Christian Aid supporters have taken action and this pressure led to a provision in the Climate Change Act in 2008 that called on the environment secretary to introduce mandatory reporting by 6 April 2012 or explain why they had not done so.

We were hopeful when David Cameron promised in the early days of the coalition that he would lead the ‘greenest government ever’. But on the issue of mandatory reporting we’ve seen nothing but delays.

With the legal deadline for a decision approaching, the current secretary of state, Caroline Spelman, has announced yet another delay. This raises real concerns that the government is considering weakening or even abandoning this key element of the Climate Change Act.

Mandatory reporting is an important test for this government’s commitment to tackling climate change and reducing UK emissions.

When you include the worldwide activities of UK companies, the UK is responsible for at least 12-15% of global emissions.

We can make a difference to a huge amount of global carbon emissions and limit our impact on the world’s poor, but to be effective we need mandatory reporting so we know where the emissions are coming from.

As the world gears up for the Rio+20 summit in June, taking place 20 years after the first Earth Summit, it’s a chance to take stock not only of what we need to do in the future but also how far we have come in tackling climate change and other environmental issues. For the UK to retreat on mandatory reporting now would send all the wrong signals.

If the government is serious about showing it is committed to its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’ then it needs to take decisive action on mandatory reporting.

The world’s poorest people are running out of time for climate justice.


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 About the author

Laura Trevelyan

Laura Trevelyan is our climate justice campaign manager

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