Under the Climate Change Act, Britain is obliged to cut its emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. This means annual CO2 emissions per person will have to fall from about 9 tonnes to only 2 tonnes. There was allot of talk about Personal Carbon Allowances, Carbon rationing/credits two years ago and powers to introduce them already exist within the Climate Change Act but Labour dragged its heals on the feasibility studies….it remains to be seen if the new Con-Lib Coalition take it up. It strikes me that there has been a gap in the discussions about the current economic situation, people seem to have put the environment in a box to be dealt with at a later stage but the reality a sustainable economy needs to be part of a sustainable environment.
Personal Carbon Credits have the potential to be a progressive form of taxation which could see people with lower carbon footprints(often working class or poor people) benefit most as any surplus could be sold on. Purchases of CO2 emitting goods and services(petrol, flights, and electricity bills) would eventually be tracked electronically, similar to the way banks track account balances.
Consumers who exceed their emissions limit (e.g. 10 tons of CO2 emissions every year) would be obligated to purchase more carbon points at the end of the year; those who did not exceed their limit could sell their surplus.So should any self respecting socialist get behind the idea? I’m not sure, there are allot of kinks still to be worked out but the problem of climate change hasn’t gone away despite the focus on economic recession and I am not seeing a whole lot of solutions on the table.