Funding offered for carbon dioxide reduction

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbon dioxide, Global warming, Kyoto protocol

The UK's Carbon Trust today offered up to £140,000 to trade
organisations willing to promote CO2 reduction
programmes, at a time when both consumers and regulators are
pushing the food sector to be more environmentally friendly.

The announcement could not be timelier, as the European Commission today announced a "low-carbon future" plan to develop new technologies such as wind and solar power. Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust said: "We believe that trade and professional bodies have an important role to play in championing carbon reduction measures amongst their member businesses and colleagues, and play an important part of our overall role in helpingUKbusiness and public sector organisations cut CO2 emissions."​As part of a new wave of funding, trade organisations are invited to assemble a plan detailing how they could reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by 9 January 2008, the trust said. Ideas suggested by the Carbon Trust include developing toolkits to deal with the problem, as well as measuring the cost of carbon emissions and wasted energy. Successful bids will be given funding from one of two bands, up to £30,000 (€41,703), or up to £140,000 (€194,600). According to the trust, £2.5m (€3.5m) of funding has been given to combat climate change since the scheme was launched in 2005, which has, crucially, saved 200,000 tones of CO2. The trust also claims that, thanks to this funding, the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Federation has established an energy efficient programme in 10 member organisations. "We look forward to continuing our support for individual industries as they strive to cut emissions,"​ Delay said. The Carbon Trust is a private company, set up by the UK government, in response to consumer and industry pressure over the effect manufacturing and business has on the environment. Several companies, including confectionery giant Cadbury, have already signed up to a carbon labelling scheme, which requires them to keep track on emissions from throughout the supply chain. Cadbury has pledged to use the scheme to monitor the production of dairy milk, one of the company's biggest brands. The Carbon Trust also launched an online calculator earlier this month, designed to help companies map their carbon footprint. Delay said at the time that the calculator will show how CO2 reduction makes good business, as well as environmental, sense, as it will demonstrate how companies can knock off £350m (€486m) from their collective bills. "Businesses that act will quickly reap the multiple benefits of improving their bottom line while increasing their overall competitiveness,"​ he claimed. The Carbon Trust is clearly on the same track as regulators, as today the European Commission proposed to investigate new energy technologies, and to reduce carbon emissions throughout the bloc. The Commission hopes that the energy technology development programme will help achieve Europe's target of reducing greenhouse gases by 60 - 80 per cent by 2050. "Europe's potential to develop a new generation of decarbonised energy technologies, such as off-shore wind, solar technology, or second generation biomass, is enormous,"​ the commission said. As part of the plan, the Commission will establish "European Industrial Initiatives" to help work on the new technologies. The EU has committed to reducing the bloc's dependence on fossil fuels, proposing to source 20 per cent of energy needs. Many food and drink manufacturers are also part of the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme under which a plant's CO2 output is fixed for the year. Plants that do not meet the target must purchase CO2 credits on a specially created site. Severel companies have expressed interest in alternative energy technologies in recent years, and one UK company, McCain Foods, has now installed wind turbines at its potato chip plant in Whittlesey.

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