Carbon rationing

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Carbon rationing is a concept whereby personal carbon allowances can be allocated or "rationed".

Carbon rationing focuses on just the energy a person buys – their electricity, gas, petrol and air travel – not the energy used already to make food, cars or domestic appliances – so the complexity is reduced.

Carbon rations could be established by determining a maximum permissible amount of emissions (an emissions budget) and dividing a right to a portion of that budget to each citizen (a ration or carbon quota). This is currently under serious study by the British government.

The concept of carbon rationing is similar to the food and fuel rationing that was used in World War 2 to reduce domestic consumption.

[edit] Comparison to emissions trading and carbon taxing

Carbon credits and emissions trading schemes essentially attempt to limit the carbon emissions by end users based on science by setting a "cap" on overall emissions, and then use financial incentives to drive efficiency and innovation.

Similarly, a carbon tax simply applies a tax to raise the price of goods and activities that result in carbon emissions to provide financial incentive for people to reduce their consumption.

[edit] Advantages of carbon rationing

  • Carbon rationing could be more empowering than many forms of regulation because instead of banning particular products, services or activities, or taxing them heavily - a personal carbon allowance enables citizens to make their own trade-offs.
  • Carbon rationing would be fair and equitable. Everyone would be treated equally and would get the same carbon ration, irrespective of their socio economic status
  • Carbon rationing would prevent excessive carbon consumption and emissions by those wealthy enough who choose to pay tax and/or price premiums to do so.
  • Carbon rationing is a simple concept that does not rely on establishing a new market system for carbon

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