personal carbon allowance – government response

 It was nice to receive an email from 10 Downing Street, in response to an e-petition I signed recently on the theme of personal carbon disclosure of ministers.  Whilst the response from Number 10 did not directly respond to the petition, the response is none the less very interesting:

Following an initial scoping study conducted by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, the Government is now undertaking a work programme designed to assess whether or not a personal carbon allowance is a realistic and workable policy option.

The work programme will address high-level questions such as public acceptability, technical feasibility, cost, and whether/how such a scheme could interact with other emissions reduction policy instruments. It is being designed to complement the work being undertaken by researchers and academics, such as The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, the Environmental Change Institute and the Royal Society for Arts.

The Climate Change Bill contains enabling powers that would allow the government to set up trading schemes to either limit activities producing greenhouse gas emissions, or to encourage activities leading to the reduction/removal of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.

In theory it should be possible for government to introduce a personal carbon trading system using these powers. However this would be right on the edge of what these powers are designed for and, in practice, it is unlikely that government would do so. What is clear is that a personal carbon trading scheme could not, and should not, be introduced without a comprehensive period of public engagement and debate.

1 thought on “personal carbon allowance – government response

  1. Rob

    Nice post.

    I am firmly in favour of personal carbon trading and believe that the traditional arguments just don’t stack-up.

    In fact I recently blogged about this exact thing here:

    In short: Personal carbon trading is an idea whose time has come. You can’t expect it to solve problems of inequity which already exist in the world – the rich will always be able to buy themselves a way out, and survive catastropAhes better than the poor. That’s the nature of the capitalist society in which we live. But properly run, the scheme would protect the fuel poor, and allow low carbon consumers to make money from the rich.

    In fact, the great thing about personal carbon trading is that government sets the outcome – a reduction in carbon – and the ‘price’ rises and falls depending on whether consumers change their behaviour. So the more people simply stick to their lifestyle and buy their way out, the price rises until people think it is better to reduce their carbon use.

    Read more here:



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