Catapult makes case for an economy-wide Carbon Regulator


Energy Systems Catapult has called for the creation of a “Carbon Regulator” to oversee the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and removal across the economy.

On 29 April, it published a report, outlining how an economy-wide carbon regulator can be key in ensuring emissions reductions actually occur in line with Carbon Budgets and the Paris Agreement as well as making sure reductions in and removals of emissions are counted and rewarded appropriately, through policy support measures and other incentives.

It explored three potential options for a carbon regulator, beginning with a single, economy-wide body, or “California Model”, that has MRV and administrative responsibilities across all carbon policies. However, considering the current UK market arrangements, this would likely prove politically unpopular and complex, leading to a delay in necessary action.

A second option, similar to the California Model, would see key devolved authority bodies taking on administrative aspects. While this could simplify decision making, it would call for significant restructuring of people and governance. The third option, once more, would be a single economy-wide body but with devolved and policy specific administrative responsibilities. This would build on existing MRV arrangements, using policy or sector specific expertise, with it supported by an economy-wide governance framework ensuring consistency in MRV practices across the UK.

It made several recommendations to consider for the introduction of an economy-wide carbon regulator, such as a study exploring both the economic upsides and downsides in a bid to help government when developing a governance structure that enables net zero in the UK and ensures the UK remains a leader on the international stage.

Further recommendations were convening expert advisory groups across all major emitting sectors to carry out initial studies on the monitoring, reporting and verification requirements for their sectors in meeting net zero; to expand the roles and responsibilities of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), or establish a similar body, to oversee developing the necessary methodologies for measurement and accounting of emissions reduction and removal; and to work with the CCC to understand what is required to account for consumption based emissions.