While American politicians mull a carbon cap-and-trade system for industry, our British cousins are already contemplating the next step: personal CO2 rations.
A Parliamentary committee in May proposed giving all British adults "carbon allowances" that they would be required to spend – along with, you know, real money – when buying gasoline, airline tickets, electricity or natural gas. Britons who wanted more credits than they were issued could try to buy them – again, with real money – from those who hadn't spent their allotment. All of this is supposed to give people a financial incentive to reduce energy consumption and thus their carbon "footprint."
The Labour government, already in a precarious political state, isn't dumb enough to support the rationing plan, which Environment Minister Hilary Benn calls "ahead of its time." Instead, it favors a climate-change bill that Parliament is on the verge of passing that would lay much of the necessary groundwork. But eco-eager Britons don't have to wait for Westminster. A private test program for personal cap-and-trade began recently with 1,000 volunteers keeping tabs of their gasoline use....MORE