Personal carbon trading proposed

In a bid to combat rising emissions from domestic consumption, the Environment Secretary David Miliband announced the Government is considering tradable personal carbon allowances.

These would cover people’s direct use of energy through their electricity, gas, petrol and air travel, which makes up 44 per cent of the economy’s total emissions. Miliband claimed there was merit in providing people with a capped number of carbon allowances, which if they choose to reduce emissions, could make them money by selling surplus allowances.

Miliband believes such a scheme would be fairer than tax rises as personal carbon allowances provide free entitlements and only offered financial penalties to those who exceeded theirs.

Miliband added that the government is considering alternative schemes such as carbon loyalty cards, league tables, and the use of carbon offsets at point of purchase for certain sectors. Raising awareness through labelling and carbon calculators are also being investigated as part of potential long-term measures.

In a speech to the Audit Commission’s annual lecture, Miliband is to liken carbon to currency, suggesting that in the future when the public buy electricity, gas and fuel they can use carbon points as well as sterling.