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  • Help us build a better Ontario September 14, 2017
    If you live in Ontario, you may have recently been selected to receive our 2017 grassroots poll on vital issues affecting the province. Your answers to these and other essential questions will help us decide what issues to focus on as we head towards the June 2018 election in Ontario. For decades, the CCPA has […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Does the Site C dam make economic sense for BC? August 31, 2017
    Today CCPC-BC senior economist Marc Lee submitted an analysis to the BC Utilities Commission in response to their consultation on the economics of the Site C dam. You can read it here. In short, the submission discussses how the economic case for Site C assumes that industrial demand for electricity—in particular for natural gas extraction […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario's middle and working class families are losing ground August 15, 2017
    Ontario is becoming more polarized as middle and working class families see their share of the income pie shrinking while upper middle and rich families take home even more. New research from CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block reveals a staggering divide between two labour markets in the province: the top half of families continue to pile […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in October for the CCPA-BC fundraising gala, featuring Senator Murray Sinclair August 14, 2017
    We are incredibly honoured to announce that Senator Murray Sinclair will address our 2017 Annual Gala as keynote speaker, on Thursday, October 19 in Vancouver. Tickets are now on sale. Will you join us? Senator Sinclair has served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), was the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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UK Commons Committee recommends personal carbon trading

There is a certain elegance and appeal of personal carbon quotas. Like democracy they are inherently equalizing. A challenge for carbon taxes is that they may allow the wealthy to buy their way our of change, when it is the most affluent who have the largest carbon footprints (a CCPA study is coming out next week on this topic). And as Lars Osberg pointed out at the recent PEF session on carbon pricing, the expansion of consumption by the richest is largely responsible for Canada’s horrible emissions record (the bottom 80%, in Lars’ estimation, have met their Kyoto commitments due to stagnant incomes and improvements in energy efficiency).

I first heard about carbon quotas or rationing in George Monbiot’s book Heat, where he advocates a version of the system. Beyond a few articles here and there, however, the concept has not received much attention. In part because it will take some time and expense to implement, I have been thinking about the idea as the next stage of development of carbon pricing, a medium-term measure that will get us beyond the low-hanging fruit.

But the fact that a major UK House of Commons committee, the Environmental Audit Committee, has endorsed the idea, perhaps it will start to get some traction. It is really just cap-and-trade for households but expect fierce resistance from people who have oversized carbon shoes. Here is an excerpt from the summary:

If the Government is to stand the slightest chance of meeting its 2050 carbon emissions target it cannot afford to neglect the domestic and personal sector. Reductions in carbon emissions from business and industry will be meaningless unless accompanied by significant and equal reductions from households and individuals.

Existing initiatives are unlikely to bring about behavioural change on the scale required, with many individuals choosing to disregard the connection between their own emissions and the larger challenge. Personal carbon trading might be the kind of radical measure needed to bring about behavioural change.

We believe that personal carbon trading has the potential to drive greater emissions reductions than green taxation. Personal carbon trading could guarantee a reduction in emissions because it places a ceiling on the carbon available for consumption, rather than seeking to reduce demand. Equally important, a carbon allowance could be more effective at incentivising behavioural change and engaging individuals in reducing their emissions than the price signals resulting from green taxation. There is also potential for a well explained personal carbon trading system to be better received and accepted than green taxation, because instead of all households being penalised, many would actually stand to benefit.

Enjoy and share:

Comments

Comment from Ralph Hazell
Time: July 10, 2008, 5:39 am

Have a look at the RSA’s carbon limited project on the above link.

They already have a live demo cap and trade scheme for individuals that is essentially very similar to the ETS scheme except for households

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