Azara Blog: David Miliband likes the idea of carbon "credit cards"

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Date published: 2006/12/11

The BBC says:

Carbon "credit cards" could be issued as part of a nationwide carbon rationing scheme, Environment Secretary David Miliband has suggested.

An annual allowance would be allocated, with the card being swiped on various items such as travel, energy or food.

Mr Miliband said people who used less than their allowance could sell any surplus to those who wanted more.

A feasibility study says many questions remain on such a plan, but Mr Miliband says "bold thinking" is needed.

Mr Miliband told the Guardian that the scheme had "a simplicity and beauty that would reward carbon thrift".

Mr Miliband, who commissioned the feasibility study, said the scheme could be working within five years.

Individuals and communities had to be empowered to tackle climate change - "the mass mobilising movement of our age".

"You cannot just rely on the state," he said.

The feasibility study was carried out by the Centre for Sustainable Energy for the Department of the Environment (Defra).

It says there are questions over whether a scheme would be acceptable for politicians and the public, but could be fairer than imposing carbon taxes.

Why is this "fairer than imposing carbon taxes"? People who work need to get to work so ought to have a higher carbon allowance than people who don't work. Is this "credit card" going to take this into account? And is the scheme going to include household energy? If not it's missing half the picture (for individuals). How is the government going to determine how much carbon has been produced by any product or service that comes from abroad? No doubt consultants like the Centre for Sustainable Energy love this kind of idea, because it means they will have a job for life coming up with the arbitrary rules behind this scheme. It's a complete and utter waste of time and money. They might as well just tax the carbon production at source (which would still require someone making up some halfway believable value for imports), and increase the value of benefits for those people at the bottom so as to at least partially offset their expected carbon tax bill.

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