Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Personal Carbon Trading

Here in the UK, the Government has just published a 41 page report on personal carbon trading. This is the idea that everyone gets a carbon allowance and if you produce more carbon than that, then you have to buy credits off someone who hasn't. Your credits would probably be stored on a card which you would use to pay your fuel bills.

I was going to comment on the idea, but the authors note that the debate so far has been based on gut instinct which in turn is based on untested assumptions! OK, my view is that it would work technically, but are the public going to accept such overt rationing of resources? Also, none of the schemes considered includes the carbon from food production and distribution which is a huge part of our ecological footprint. One of them doesn't even include personal aviation which would make a mockery of the whole thing (see the Rebound effect).

As the authors note, the idea is a work in progress. It's worth a read if you are interested, but it does get quite technical in places.

Speaking of opinions based on gut instinct rather than the facts, did anyone read Max Hastings' piece in the Guardian yesterday? Supermarkets more eco-friendly than farmers markets because they use big trucks? I'm not even going to start.

Mr Hastings is a military historian. Maybe I should start opining on that subject as I know bugger all about it...


At 7:36 PM, Anonymous mel starrs said...

Cheers for the link to the report - I had read plenty of comment in the press but hadn't had time to track it down. It's been added to my ever growing pile 'to-read'.

Have you read Mayer Hillman's 'How we can save the planet'? Hillman is cited on page 3 and the book is an easy romp through the theory of how PCA's would work - although the tone of the book is rather negative.

The food debate has been kicked off by the economist article - link
My main problem with supermarkets is the surfeit of packaging involved - when I buy local we have much less waste.


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