Tuesday AM March 23rd, 2010

The British Consulate in Houston co-hosted a workshop on energy efficiency to improve financial performance while reducing a company's carbon footprint. Ed Mayberry reports.

carbon emissionsThe Consulate brought together UK organizations and corporations such as BP and BT to explain how UK industry has moved aggressively to reduce carbon emissions.  The Carbon Trust is an independent company set up by the British government to help speed the move to a low carbon economy.  The group's David Vincent says the UK experience shows left unattended, climate change wll have economic and environmental impacts.

"So we are looking at this move to a low carbon economy from the perspective of reduced carbon emissions, better job opportunities in new industries, secure and affordable energy supplies."

Consul General Paul Lynch realizes that the emissions issue is very politicized.

"In terms of policy, in terms of reducing emissions, it has been something which has not caused political discussion or dissent in Europe in the same way it has in the U.S., and the interesting question for me is the other way around: how has science—and the science is perfectly understood—become a political football?"  

The Carbon Trust has helped UK business save over £1.4 billion, or $2.1 billion, by reducing energy waste since 2001.  Vincent says there are three bottom lines.

"There's a bottom line in terms of reduced emissions making an improved reputational value to the organization.  They're on the side of moving to the right future of a low-carbon economy.  Second, there are bottom-line financial benefits by saving what we estimate will be between ten and 20 percent worth of energy savings per company.  And thirdly, for those companies who want to get the forefront of entrepreneurial development of a new industry, there's a need for help to get these companies into the markets.  All that adds up to new jobs, new opportunity."

The Carbon Trust says governments must help reduce risks for businesses trying to manage their carbon footprints.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...