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Carbon rationing may be needed by 2012, says IPPR

Ecologist

9th September, 2009

Although unpopular and expensive, personal carbon trading may be the next step in tackling climate change

The Government may need to introduce a personal carbon trading scheme (PCT) if existing measures fail, says a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The report, Plan B? The prospects for personal carbon trading, says existing measures on reducing individuals' carbon impact, such as smart meters and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme should be given time to succeed.

But if carbon emissions have not been reduced by 2012, the Government would have to consider rationing carbon.

'Personal carbon rationing and trading should not be a first option,'  said Associate Director at the IPPR Matthew Lockwood.

'But the Government should start preparing a "plan B" in case current policies fail to deliver. We can lay the ground work now by giving people much better information about the carbon they are emitting, whether at home or at the petrol pump.'

The IPPR estimates that a personal carbon trading scheme would cost around £1.4 billion a year to administer.

The study also urges the Government to prepare the public for PCT by improving awareness or 'carbon literacy'. This could be done with carbon emissions made available on gas and electricity bills, at the petrol pump and on airplane tickets. 

The Government should also run a ‘know your carbon limits’ campaign along the lines of alcohol awareness advertising, according to the IPPR study.

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Institute for Public Policy Research

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