But environmentalists fear that it increases the likelihood that the scheme will be axed in a review this autumn.
Chancellor George Osborne has described the scheme was ‘cumbersome’ and ‘bureaucratic’ and has said it imposes an ‘unnecessary’ cost on business.
He proposed to ‘seek major savings in the administrative cost of the commitment for business’.
‘If those cannot be found,’ he added, ‘I will bring forward proposals this autumn to replace the revenues with an alternative environmental tax.’
The government says that under its proposals, participants’ administrative costs will be cut by almost two-thirds, equivalent to about £330 million of savings up to 2030.
The CRC is a mandatory UK-wide trading scheme that covers large business and public sector organisations responsible for 12 per cent of UK carbon emissions.
It requires businesses to report on and pay a tax on the energy they use, and ranks businesses in a performance league table that gives them a further reputational incentive to improve their energy efficiency.
The lighting industry is a particular beneficiary of the CRC, because lighting is a fast and cost-effective retrofit option to reduce energy use.
The CRC is expected to deliver carbon savings of 21Mt of CO2 by 2027.
The package proposed is designed to retain the energy-saving and reputational benefits of the CRC, but reduce the bureaucracy involved in taking part.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey said: ‘We have listened to businesses’ concerns about the CRC and have set out proposals to radically cut down on red tape to save businesses money.
The formal consultation will run for 12 weeks. After this, the government will amend the legislation for CRC by April 2013.