Section 87: Power of Ministers and departments to offset greenhouse gas emissions
474.This section authorises any Minister of the Crown or government department, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers and any Northern Ireland department to acquire units, or interests in units, representing reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and units under cap-and-trade trading schemes.
475.This section therefore enables Her Majesty’s Government and the devolved administrations to offset emissions through the purchase of units (often referred to as “carbon credits”) or interests in units (such as the right to buy units at a fixed price at some point in the future). It also allows central government and the devolved administrations to purchase units or interests in units, by arrangement, for other public bodies which do not have to power to do so of their own accord. Units acquired using this power which meet the requirements of regulations under section 26 (carbon units and carbon accounting) may be used to reduce the level of the net UK carbon account (see section 27).
476.Subsection (3) provides that units or interests in units purchased by the Treasury are to be treated as being held by the persons who constitute the Treasury at that time.