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  • Imagine a Winnipeg...2018 Alternative Municipal Budget June 18, 2018
    Climate change; stagnant global economic growth; political polarization; growing inequality.  Our city finds itself dealing with all these issues, and more at once. The 2018 Alternative Municipal Budget (AMB) is a community response that shows how the city can deal with all these issues and balance the budget.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA's National Office has moved! May 11, 2018
      The week of May 1st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' National Office moved to 141 Laurier Ave W, Suite 1000, Ottawa ON, K1P 5J2. Please note that our phone, fax and general e-mail will remain the same: Telephone: 613-563-1341 | Fax: 613-233-1458 | Email: ccpa@policyalternatives.ca  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.  A new study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017 due to soaring housing costs. This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

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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