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Carbon rationing on the agenda says environment chief


9th November, 2009

Personal allowances would allow equitable use of carbon says the head of the Environment Agency

Carbon allowances should be considered by the Government as a means of rationing carbon in the future, the head of the Environment Agency has said.

Speaking at the Agency's annual conference, Lord Chris Smith said if the UK was serious about producing 80 per cent less carbon emissions by 2050, as stipulated under the Climate Change Act of 2008, then carbon rationing had to be considered as a 'possibility'.

He said carbon allowances would allow 'equitable' decisions on how people use carbon.

'[Having less carbon available to us] will force us to think about how we use that carbon, for example, what goes on aviation.

'Should we use a price mechanism where only the rich can fly or could we use some kind of allowance system?

'A price mechanism is not equitable but one possible answer to that might be carbon allowances,' he said.

His support for the scheme runs counter to the Government position, following environment minister Ed Miliband's dismissal of the idea last year by declaring it was 'an idea for the longer term', and a Defra report wrote off the project as too expensive.

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