Government Agencies Would Need $16.6 Billion in New Tax Revenue to Buy Carbon Allowances Under Global Warming Legislation$16.6 Billion Needed to Purchase Carbon Allowances If Cap-and-Trade -- to Allegedly Combat Global Warming -- is Enacted into Law
August 26, 2009
A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study says that all levels of government –- federal, state, and local -- will have to come up with a total of $16.6 billion in additional revenue to purchase carbon allowances, if cap-and-trade -- to allegedly combat global warming -- is enacted into law. Experts say this could prompt increases in taxes.
This is the second government report to estimate that the proposed climate-change legislation, formally known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, will eventually cost consumers more.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study published on June 19 revealed that the House cap-and-trade bill, passed by a 219 to 212 vote on June 26, would cost an estimated $175 per household every year. Cost estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on cap-and-trade legislation are lower -- at $80 to $111 per household.
The cap-and-trade bill, in general, places limits (a cap) on how much carbon and greenhouse gases companies can emit. If they exceed that limit, they can purchase (“trade”) carbon credits to compensate for their over-emissions.
John Stephenson, director of natural resources and environment for the GAO, in written testimony for an Aug. 4 Senate Finance Committee hearing, said that state, local, and federal governments would be financially liable if cap-and-trade is imposed.
Stephenson testified about the GAO’s assessment of how emission-allowances and revenues produced by a cap-and-trade measure should be allocated.
“According to one study, governments produce approximately 13 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and the allowance consumption associated with these emissions could cost governments an additional $16.6 billion,” Stephenson said.Brian Johnson, federal affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a free market policy group, explained that state governments may have to raise their tax rates to buy carbon permits.
“In order for the states to raise this money [for carbon allowances], they’re going to have to increase utility costs and/or just increase direct taxes on their citizens,” Johnson told CNSNews.com. “There’s going to be no way to raise these funds without doing that.”Jerry Taylor, senior fellow at the Cato Institute (Cato Institute) Jerry Taylor, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, agreed with Johnson that state taxes would be raised to generate funding for carbon allowances, adding that states are “generally” constitutionally bound to “balanced budget requirements.”
“You’ve got something like 36 states that get 80 percent or more of their energy from carbon-based sources, so they’re going to be really hit by something like this in order to have the proper allowances,” he said. “I mean, they’ll necessarily have to raise taxes. I don’t see any way around it.”
“They can’t borrow as freely as the federal government can,” he said. “They can borrow some, there are ways around these balanced budget requirements. But, generally speaking, they have to tax what they spend.”Adele Morris, policy director of the climate and energy project at the Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank in Washington, D.C., told CNSNews.com that to cover high energy costs the federal government would potentially have to appropriate additional funds.
“It’s possible that, yes, the government would have to have some kind of appropriations in order to buy [allowances],” Morris said.The higher costs that result from the climate legislation are going to affect all levels of governments, she explained.
“Even if they don’t buy allowances, it’s [climate-change legislation] going to include higher costs,” she said. “So it’s going to have [to have] appropriations to fund those higher costs.”
“The government is a big user of energy and that means everything from our fleet vehicles and the fuel they use to the heating and lighting of buildings that the government uses,” Morris told CNSNew.com.Morris said one option for governments -- especially the federal government -- faced with the question of how to raise revenue to offset energy costs might be to raise deficits.
“In those expenditures, part of the carbon price is going to be passed along to the government, just like it would any other enterprise, and that’s going to be across-the-board in all federal government activities -- and not just the federal government for that matter, it is going to be state and local governments as well,” she said.
“One option is to raise revenue, another option is to cut spending, another option is to raise debt,” said Morris.Currently, lawmakers are considering either auctioning the allowances, handing them out for free, or a combination of both (free and purchased). The House bill initially gives away most of the allowances and would sell just a few of them, which could result in revenue shortfall, according to Johnson.
However, she also said: “One important reaction would be to conserve energy and that would be to invest in more energy-efficient buildings, lighting, and vehicle fleets and I think that’s a very important response from governments.”
“If they allocate the free allowances, that’s just cap-and-cap -- you know, there’s no trade there,” explained ATR’s Johnson. “There’s no economic driver and the government wants to be able to set the market and set the price for these.”In his written testimony, Stephenson suggested that auctioning permits would generate the most revenue, which could be used to off-set costs for the federal government, among other things.
“Given the revenue generation potential of auctions, many experts we consulted as part of a prior study suggested that a cap-and-trade program should maximize the level of auctioning,” said Stephenson.However, according to Jerry Taylor, offset-cost benefits posed by selling carbon permits would only be felt at the federal level, isolating state and local governments.
“The sales of the permits will be done by the federal government,” Taylor said. “So if you’re talking what state and local government would have to spend, that would not be offset by any permit sales because the permit sales aren’t being conducted by state and local governments, [they are] being conducted by the federal government, unless the revenues were recycled back to state and local governments somehow, which would not be in the House bill.”Stephenson of the GAO said:
“Placing a price on emissions is likely to raise the cost of production of many goods and services. The size of the impact will depend on the price of allowances, as well as the ability of producers to substitute less emission-intensive processes and inputs.”In June, the CBO revealed that the cap-and-trade bill would generate $45 billion by 2019 in revenues if a portion of the allowances were auctioned. Annual revenues from allowances could reach between $30 billion and $300 billion by about the same year, according to earlier CBO estimates.
Unless the climate bill exempts governments from having to buy allowances, state, local, and federal governments will need $16.6 billion to buy permits.
“The $16.6 billion figure that you mention was provided to illustrate the effects of a cap-and-trade program on government expenditures,” Stephenson told CNSNews.com in an e-mail ...
November 29, 2010
On a recent visit to England, an evening in the hotel room found me flipping channels. To say much of British television is awful would be an understatement. However, one program caught my attention — the BBC reality program Turn Back Time: The High Street.
The premise of the program is that a group of shopkeepers and their families on High Street in the historic English market town of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, are instructed to run their businesses — grocer, butcher, blacksmith, etc. — as they would have under the circumstances of their particular time in history.
In the episode I watched the time period was World War II, when times were hard for many Britons and citizens had to make do with whatever they happened to have or could afford. It was also a time of austerity, as the Shepton Mallet families soon discover.
Air raids, food shortages and annoyed customers were common throughout the program. The grocer even offered certain customers black market goods, undermining the "community spirit" approach that developed during those times of hardship, woe and want.
The program struck me, I suppose, because of all the talk these days of austerity, of "sacrifice" and such. British newspapers like The Independent were noting that the climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, is incredibly important, but that most nations won't do enough to save the smaller, poorer nations that will be adversely affected by so-called climate change.
And in today's edition of The Daily Telegraph (article above), it notes that a professor named Kevin Anderson is actually calling for a "halt (to) economic growth in the rich world over the next 20 years." It continues, noting that:
"(T)his would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less 'carbon intensive' goods and services such as long-haul flights and fuel-hungry cars."But the part that really caught my attention in regards to Prof. Anderson's insane rantings about austerity was this:
"(Anderson) said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the 'last time of crisis' in the 1930s and 40s."Nineteen thirties and forties, eh? Just as BBC viewers witnessed on the Turn Back Time program. Coincidence?
Said Anderson in the Telegraph:
"The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale do the problem we face."Now, Prof. Anderson reassures readers that he doesn't expect people to "go back to living in caves," but we do need to wear sweaters more often, rather than turning up the heat in your home." It's starting to feel like the 1970's all over again, isn't it?
As Steve Watson, writing an article for PrisonPlanet.com, noted:
A group called the Royal Society, an "ultra-elitist environmental group," wants the first world to stave off alleged rising global temperatures by adhering "to a system of rationing." This Royal Society group is part of a the global-warming cult that wants drastic cuts in CO2 emissions, even it means folks have to endure austerity and rationing at levels never before seen in modern times.Meanwhile, greenie globalist do-gooders like U2's Bono and Al Gore are jetting around the world, wagging their fingers and telling people to reduce their "carbon footprint" while they live well, and preach down to everyone for driving an SUV or using certain sorts of light bulbs. As someone who caught U2's performance in 2009 in Norman, Okla., as part of the 360 Degrees Tour, the set was enormous and as Andrew Bolt of Melbourne, Australia's Herald Sun newspaper noted:
"U2's 360 Degrees Tour, the most expensive rock spectacle ever, is here. The tour, with a daily running cost of $850,000, arrived on six 747 jets ..."And back to my trip to the UK — there was a lot of grumbling about the serious financial challenges facing Ireland and the fact that Britain will have to help them out financially. Yeah, the European Union finance ministers have approved the bailout of Ireland, and the Irish people are mad and protesting, just as they are in Greece and other European countries.
If a country like Ireland can fall so quickly, what lies ahead for Britain and America, for that matter?
While in the United Kingdom, young protesters — students, mostly — were occupying buildings, like Oxford's Radcliffe Camera, or in London, smashing police vans or causing low-level mayhem, protesting the planned cuts in education funding and higher student fees. While walking the streets of Oxford this past week, it was clear that the students were not happy about these recent developments, some holding signs, much as their parents — and even grandparents — had in the 1960's and 70's. One British columnist called these students part of "Generation Scared," where these younger people won't enjoy what their older siblings, parents and grandparents got to enjoy before everything started going to hell, as it were.
Will we have to revert to the kind of rationing and austere conditions that the WWII generation faced?
Is this all an engineered collapse that will bring about some sort of dystopian nightmare on a global scale?
Between the recent TSA protests in the U.S., student uprisings in Britain, collapsing economies, the war-like footing on the Korean peninsula, and an increasingly smug China and Russia, the "grand chessboard," as the globalists like to say, is looking pretty active and more uncertain. Of course, most of us are the "pawns," and we all know what usually happens to the pawns in the game of chess.
Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are saying that "the Second World War and the concept of rationing (in rich countries) is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face" to bring down carbon emissions.
November 29, 2010
In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world’s most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough.
Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration.
As the world meets in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talks on climate change, the influential academics called for much tougher measures to cut carbon emissions.
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.
This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain, as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars.
Prof Anderson admitted it “would not be easy” to persuade people to reduce their consumption of goods. He said politicians should consider a rationing system similar to the one introduced during the last “time of crisis” in the 1930s and 40s.
This could mean a limit on electricity so people are forced to turn the heating down, turn off the lights, and replace old electrical goods like huge fridges with more efficient models. Food that has travelled from abroad may be limited as well as goods that require a lot of energy to manufacture.
“The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” he said.Prof Anderson insisted that halting growth in the rich world does not necessarily mean a recession or a worse lifestyle, it just means making adjustments in everyday life such as using public transport and wearing a sweater rather than turning on the heating.
“I am not saying we have to go back to living in caves,” he said. “Our emissions were a lot less ten years ago and we got by ok then.”The last round of talks in Copenhagen last year ended in a weak political accord to keep temperature rise below the dangerous tipping point of 2C(3.6F). This time 194 countries are meeting again to try and make the deal legally binding and agree to targets on cutting emissions. At the moment, efforts are focused on trying to get countries to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 relative to 1990 levels.
But Dr Myles Allen, of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, said this might not be enough. He said that if emissions do not come down quick enough even a slight change in temperature will be too rapid for ecosystems to keep up. Also, by measuring emissions relative to a particular baseline, rather than putting a limit on the total amount that can ever be pumped into the atmosphere, there is a danger that the limit is exceeded.
“Peak warming is determined by the total amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere, not the rate we release it in any given year,’ he said. “Dangerous climate change, however, also depends on how fast the planet is warming up, not just how hot it gets, and the maximum rate of warming does depend on the maximum emission rate. It’s not just how much we emit, but how fast we do so.”
By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, The Boston Globe
Originally Published on February 24, 2008
Global Warming is a planet-sized problem, so policy solutions tend to aim for the grandest possible scale. The signatories of the Kyoto Protocol have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions at a national level, while laws in various countries and states seek to reform entire industries.
For individuals, the picture is very different. Environmentalism often boils down to small lifestyle choices, like turning down the thermostat and screwing in the squiggly light bulbs - gestures that can feel virtuous but futile. Some environmentalists even consider them counterproductive if they substitute for activism.
But a new wave of thinking suggests it may be better in the long run to address this global problem in a way that directly involves individuals. Several proposals generating buzz chiefly in the United Kingdom and Ireland operate on the notion that every individual has an equal stake in the atmosphere. The most provocative idea, personal carbon trading, would grant all residents a "carbon allowance," setting a limit on carbon dioxide emissions from their households and transportation. In the model of the industrial "cap and trade" system, guzzlers who exceeded their allowance would need to buy extra shares. People who conserved energy, meanwhile, could sell their leftover shares and ride their bikes all the way to the bank.
Personal carbon allowances set a limit on the emissions that can be produced by an individual's activities.
This is not just a fantasy floating around in the greenest reaches of the blogosphere. In 2006, the UK's environment secretary, David Miliband, endorsed the idea, and the British government has commissioned a study to explore the policy's feasibility. An alternative proposal, known as "cap and share," is under consideration by the Irish government, and Peter Barnes, an American entrepreneur, promotes a kindred scheme in his new book, "Climate Solutions."
The collective impact of individual energy use is enormous, so any effective approach to climate change will ultimately require major changes in individual behavior. The most broadly accepted estimate is that direct emissions from individuals -- that is, residences and transportation -- account for 30 to 40 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in both the United States and the UK. The Union of Concerned Scientists calculates that the average American is responsible for the emission of about 20 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
"Climate change is a problem that's far too complex for existing economic models to deal with," says Matt Prescott, project director of Carbon Limited, a program in the UK that is researching the idea of personal carbon trading. Individuals, whose emissions "have been skyrocketing," play a key role, says Prescott. "When you put your foot on the accelerator, there's no blaming Ford."Engaging individuals directly could have a groundbreaking impact, alerting them to their contribution to the problem while enlisting them in solving it. There are substantial differences among these policies, and practical and political obstacles to implementing any of them, especially in the United States. Some believe a tax, aptly applied, could accomplish the same goals more efficiently. But advocates see these plans as a necessary shift in the way we think about pumping carbon into the air -- infusing the global energy debate with a deeply personal sense of rights and responsibilities.
Carbon dioxide is an inevitable byproduct of most modern human activities. Beginning with the industrial revolution, we have been spewing it into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, along with other gases that trap heat from the sun. (Carbon dioxide makes up over 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions; "carbon" seems to have become shorthand for all of them.) A solidifying consensus has it that in order to avert catastrophic climate change, we must slash greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
Fledgling efforts to control carbon emissions have generally taken three forms.
- One is to set simple limits, such as the 2004 California law that attempted to regulate tailpipe emissions from vehicles. (The law has been blocked by the EPA in a decision now under appeal.)
- Another approach is making them expensive by taxing some or all fossil fuel sales. A few countries, such as Britain and Finland, have passed carbon tax laws, as have Boulder, Colo., and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and British Columbia.
- The third category consists of cap-and-trade systems, a sort of cross between the first two that uses market mechanisms to discourage emissions. A limit is imposed, but players can exceed it for a price, and the energy-efficient can benefit by selling their surplus. The Kyoto Protocol involves such a mechanism, and the European Union has its own emissions trading scheme that allows businesses in member countries to trade emissions rights. And the trend has begun to catch on in the US Congress, where several current bills would implement an industrial cap-and-trade system.
Fleming and others imagine a system that reaches deeply into how people live -- and how they think about their lifestyles.
Under such a system, you would have a personal carbon account that used the technology of credit and debit cards. When you bought gas or paid utility bills, the units would be deducted.
When you had to run errands, before hopping in the car, you would pause to consider taking the bus, or riding your bike, or calling up a friend to car pool. Vacationers deciding between Vermont and Colorado would have to weigh the relative carbon impact of driving and flying. To save up carbon units for the trip, they might have to turn down the air conditioner for a couple of weeks. Carbon costs would start to figure into such everyday decisions, until the calculus became automatic.
If you had carbon savings, you could use them next year, when the cap would be lower, or sell them on the carbon market.
One of the main attractions of this idea is its equity. The outsized carbon footprints of the wealthy -- those who fly by private jet and live in McMansions -- would come with an extra price tag, so the penalty would fall on the people most able to afford it. The poor, who generate much lower emissions, could actually turn a profit by selling their surplus.
As entrepreneurs and businesses adapted to this system, the development of alternative energy and energy-efficient appliances would take off. As you used more wind power and your car consumed less gasoline, you'd have a little more leeway with your carbon account. At the same time, though, every year the cap would tighten, cutting into your allowance, further spurring conservation and innovation.
"Getting Americans to find another way of living is going to be very difficult," says Fleming. His plan, he believes, would be a "guarantee to change their way of life and have a future."Depending on your perspective, the notion of a personal carbon allowance may sound utopian or nightmarish. Meanwhile, there are other proposed schemes that may be easier for Americans to swallow. They share certain elements with that idea, but avoid the individual quota and place more emphasis on rights than responsibility.
In Ireland -- a country that recently made headlines with its dramatic success in reducing plastic bag use -- the government is considering a proposal called "cap and share." In the first stage, it would apply only to vehicle fuels, but the scope would eventually expand.
Under the plan, which could be adopted as soon as next December, an independent trust would set a cap for consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel, convert that figure into tons of carbon dioxide, and divide that number by the adult population of the country. Each adult would get a permit in the mail representing one share. Each company that imports vehicle fuel into Ireland would need to get its hands on those permits in order to sell its product.
"When you got your permit, you would have to decide what to do," says Richard Douthwaite, an Irish economist and founder of the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. "If you tore up the permit, you would be preventing that amount of vehicle fuel from being released."But the more tempting, and no doubt more popular, option would be to sell the permit to a company, via the local bank or another broker.
By adding a cost to selling gas in Ireland, and by placing a limit on the total, the scheme would immediately cause fuel prices to rise, providing an incentive for people to drive less or to devise greener means of powering vehicles. But consumers would also be partly compensated for the higher cost of fuel through the sale of their permits.
A third proposal, which has support from some American environmentalists, is an idea called the "sky trust," first floated in 1999 by Peter Barnes, the American entrepreneur and a fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in California. In several books, including "Climate Solutions," Barnes conceives of the atmosphere as a common asset. He proposes that an independent board set a cap for total emissions and hold an auction for emissions rights. Companies would pay for the permits, and the resulting pot of cash would be divided equally among citizens.
His scheme is based on an existing American system, the Alaska Permanent Fund, founded in 1976 in response to a windfall from oil exports. Every year, a semi-independent corporation distributes the oil revenue among Alaskan residents.
Barnes calls this a "very interesting precedent -- this notion that if you have revenue from selling a common resource, of giving it back to everybody equally."
Although different in structure from personal carbon trading, the sky trust would similarly reward the carbon-thrifty.
"If you have a Hummer and three houses, you're going to be paying in a lot more than you get back," says Barnes. "If you ride a bicycle and take the bus, you'll get back more than you pay in."According to Richard Starkey, who studies all three schemes at the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research in the UK, the main advantage of personal carbon trading over the second two ideas is that it might most effectively foster "carbon literacy," as consumers would be made aware of the exact cost in carbon for their decisions. It would also send a signal about acceptable levels of personal emissions. The minuses, however, would be the need for the card infrastructure, and, as Starkey puts it, the "Big Brother element."
David Fleming regards the second two schemes as "nonstarters" because they guarantee money rather than energy. As a result, they are unequipped to grapple with a second major concern of energy analysts, "peak oil" -- the coming energy scarcity caused by an expected drop in oil production. Fleming's plan would promise everyone a minimum share of energy.
Partisans of all these schemes assert their superiority over a carbon tax on gasoline and other fuels. They call such taxes regressive, since as a rule flat taxes penalize the poor. But Dan Rosenblum, a lawyer and cofounder of the Carbon Tax Center, doesn't see the ideas as fundamentally different from a tax.
"They avoid the word 'tax,' and there is a benefit to that," he says. "But we're all saying that you ought to pay for dumping carbon into the atmosphere."Some carbon tax plans address the "regressive" charge with provisions for returning revenue through reduced income taxes or rebates.
In the UK, skeptics of personal carbon trading call it an administrative nightmare and an infringement on civil liberties. In the United States, with a much larger population, much greater aversion to government interference, and less widespread appreciation of the threat of climate change, such a scheme may seem unthinkable. That could change if it's successfully implemented in the UK, and if the perceived threat of global warming intensifies.
In the UK, Prescott says that in their surveys of the public, "the idea of an allowance is very popular. There seems to be a pretty high level of recognition that something has to happen."Because of the relative administrative simplicity and the Alaska precedent, Barnes believes the sky trust scheme, at least, should be politically palatable in the United States, and there are indications that we could be headed in that general direction. This year's remaining Democratic presidential candidates support a cap-and-trade system that would auction permits to companies, thereby generating revenue for the federal government.
"The question is," says Barnes, "to whom does that money belong?"
... Let’s take a look under the covers of the Carbon Credit Trading scam.
- Firstly, there is considerable doubt amongst scientists that there is global warming at all. Many scientists in fact think that the earth is actually cooling. As one climatologist said, "it is anybody’s guess. Next year might be warmer, or it might be cooler. In ten years time, there is just as much chance that the earth will be warmer, as that it will be cooler. We simply do not know." This is the most sensible thing I have heard so far about global warming.
- Secondly, even if there were global warming, there is no real proof that it is caused by carbon emissions. There have been times in the past when there was many, many times the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere compared to today, and the earth was cooler, not warmer. In fact there is considerable evidence that increased volume of CO2 is a consequence of global warming, not the cause. The most plausible explanation for global warming is that it is caused by the activity of the sun, and there is much empirical and scientific evidence to support this.
- Thirdly, even if there were global warming, and even if it was caused by carbon emissions, Carbon Credit Trading will do nothing to help either reduce the emissions, or to help save the planet. Rich companies and countries can still put as much CO2 into the atmosphere as they like (even increase it) as long as they can pay for the privilege. Rich countries will buy the right to pollute the earth from developing countries who cannot afford (Africa for example) to pollute the earth as much. This is whole idea is absolute lunacy ...
Personalising carbon emissions (March 5, 2005)
Personal carbon trading (Wikipedia)
Personal Carbon Trading, Sustainable Development Commission
Now we could be hit with green tax for turning up the heating or using the car (November 9, 2009)
What are personal carbon allowances?
Will carbon allowances for individuals - with credits and penalties - cut carbon emissions? (2007)
Government must not abandon work on personal carbon trading (May 26, 2008)
Zerofootprint: The Ins and Outs of Carbon Trading (October 12, 2006)
The idea of tradable personal carbon allowances, or domestic tradable quotas as they are also called, is not new. The concept was first proposed in the mid 1990s, when it was largely ignored as Utopian and unworkable. But it is now being taken seriously by the British Government, among others. A tradable personal carbon allowance scheme could work like this. The government calculates a target for the total emissions it will allow from personal electricity, gas and transport, which are responsible for most domestic carbon production. (The target could be derived from the Kyoto international emissions agreement, or some other sustainability measure.) This total is converted into ‘carbon points,’ and every citizen receives an equal share. The points are like a currency, to be used alongside the regular currency, although they only apply to carbon. When someone buys fuel, or an airline ticket, or pays an electricity bill, they use their carbon points as well as their money. In fact, the two currencies could be integrated so that both worked with the same debit or credit card. Now someone who was frugal in their energy use (say, who had installed solar heating and a wind turbine for electricity generation and who cycled to work) could end up with surplus points. Meanwhile, someone else might drive a SUV, have a houseful of electronic gadgets and fly to distant holiday destinations, thereby exceeding their allocation. Under the personal tradable carbon allowance scheme, these two individuals could trade points, the carbon cutter selling to the carbon guzzler. The deal would take place on an open market, and the price of the points would be set by that market.
Personal Carbon Rationing May Be Needed (September 8, 2009)
A UK think tank has released a report saying that if at the end of the UK’s first carbon budget period in 2012, carbon emissions have not reduced, the government will need to face up to the prospect of introducing personal carbon trading as a “plan B.” Personal carbon trading would cut emissions by giving every person in the country a quota of free carbon credits which would be needed to buy electricity, gas, and even plane tickets. “Unlike food rations during the war, carbon credits would be tradable, so people with small carbon footprints could sell their spare credits while people with gas guzzlers and houses full of energy-hungry gadgets would need to buy extra credits to cover their extra emissions,” the Institute for Public Policy Research says in the report, Plan B? The prospects for personal carbon trading. Over time the quotas would shrink, in line with the need to hit emissions reduction targets.
Trial produces encouraging results for backers of personal carbon budgets (February 3, 2009)
The fundamental principal of giving every person in the country a carbon budget -- initially budgets would probably cover emissions from key areas such as buildings and transport, but could be extended to cover "all goods and services"... Budgets could be managed through existing technology -- such as bank cards, loyalty and fuel cards or company expense accounts... Also, instead of individual trading, credits could be bought and sold by groups such as local authorities or employers... Such a scheme would be technically feasible by 2013 but he predicted 2020 was a more likely date for its introduction when technology had developed to make it easier to cut emissions. A further trial is to be launched with volunteer local authorities. "Some people will adopt greener living because they think it's the right thing to do, but the bulk of the population need to feel that they are part of a movement. The government has to become bolder in getting more directly involved in behaviour change."
What we need is CarbonWatchers (October 3, 2005)
Carbon allowances would work as follows. Each adult would receive an equal allowance, with children receiving a lower share. The annual allowance would reduce over time to make the necessary national savings. Allowances would be issued for free, and would be tradable. So those who lived a thrifty lifestyle would be able to make money by selling their spare quota and people with more carbon-intensive lives could buy more. Trading would be a vital part of the system, given that some people's carbon emissions today are more than ten times those of others.
The practicalities of the scheme would be straightforward. Every time you wanted to buy petrol, pay your gas or electricity bill, or get on a plane, you would have to either surrender some of your carbon allowance or buy the necessary additional allowances. Everyone would have a carbon card with which to manage their carbon account. Carbon would become a parallel currency, and people would learn to manage their carbon budgets as they do their money.
Individuals could trade carbon currency (July 20, 2006)
Miliband's vision of a society driven by carbon credit cards has left commentators with some reservations. There are fears that, when push comes to shove, it is simply making energy more expensive to buy, and those already facing fuel poverty will be given further incentive not to turn the heating on when it gets cold or flick on a fan when temperatures soar. Those who have the money to drive the symbol of ecological irresponsibility, the SUV, will absorb the extra cost and have their conscience cleared of guilt as they are paying for their emissions. And those in most need of the extra cash from carbon credits will be those least able to install micro-generators.
The Global Warming Survival Guide (TIME Magazine, 2007)
The essential injustice of global warming is that the poor will suffer the worst effects while contributing far less to carbon emissions than the rich. So here's a radical solution: divide greenhouse-gas emissions by population, and give everyone in the world the right to emit the same amount of carbon—a personal carbon allowance. Essentially, allowances are a cap-and-trade scheme for individuals. They set a clear target and let the market work out the details. Bike to work and live beneath your allowance, and you can sell your carbon credits to energy spendthrifts who refuse to give up their SUVs. The balance of your allowance might be recorded on a sort of carbon-debit card, so if you buy that SUV, you'll be spending carbon too. If you want to keep living as if it's 1989, all you have to do is pay for it.
Cap and Trade Carbon Emissions or Impose a Flat Carbon Tax (TIME Magazine, 2007)
With cap-and-trade programs, governments limit the level of carbon that can be emitted by an industry. Companies that hold their emissions below the cap can sell their remaining allowance on a carbon market, while companies that exceed their limit must purchase credits on that market. Carbon taxes are more straightforward: a set tax rate is placed on the consumption of carbon in any form—fossil-fuel electricity, gasoline—with the idea that raising the price will encourage industries and individuals to consume less. At the moment, cap-and-trade has the upper hand, since it serves as the backbone of the current Kyoto Protocol, and helped the U.S. reduce acid rain in the 1990s—but don't write off the tax just yet. Supporters of the carbon tax argue that a cap-and-trade system would be too difficult to administer—and too easily gamed by industries looking to sidestep emissions caps. Cap-and-trade advocates counter that, like all other flat taxes, a carbon levy would disproportionately burden lower-income families, who spend a greater percentage of their income on energy than rich households. So which system will have the largest impact on carbon consumption? A 10% flat carbon tax might reduce the demand for carbon about 5% or less, according to an analysis by the Carbon Tax Center, an environmental advocacy group. That may not be enough. Businesses and governments haven't figured out how the two competing regimes can work together, but in the end, the world may need both.