David Derbyshire, The Daily Mail
Last updated at 1:08 AM on 27th May 2008
Every adult should be forced to use a ‘carbon ration card’ when they pay for petrol, airline tickets or household energy, MPs say.
The influential Environmental Audit Committee says a personal carbon trading scheme is the best and fairest way of cutting Britain’s CO2 emissions without penalising the poor.
Under the scheme, everyone would be given an annual carbon allowance to use when buying oil, gas, electricity and flights.
Anyone who exceeds their entitlement would have to buy top-up credits from individuals who haven’t used up their allowance. The amount paid would be driven by market forces and the deal done through a specialist company.
MPs, led by Tory Tim Yeo, say the scheme could be more effective at cutting greenhouse gas emissions than green taxes.
But critics say the idea is deeply flawed. The scheme would penalise those living in the countryside who were dependent on their cars, as well as the elderly or housebound who need to heat their homes in the day.
Large families would suffer, as would those working at nights when little public transport is available.
It would need to take into account the size of families, and their ages. There is huge potential for fraud.
Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said the cards would be hugely unpopular. ‘The Government has shown itself incapable of managing any huge, complex IT system.’ he said.
How the Scheme Would Work
Every adult in the UK would be given an annual carbon dioxide allowance in kgs and a special carbon card.
The scheme would cover road fuel, flights and energy bills.
Every time someone paid for road fuel, flights or energy, their carbon account would be docked.
A litre of petrol would use up 2.3kg in carbon, while every 1.3 miles of airline flight would use another 1kg.
When paying for petrol, the card would need to swiped at the till. It would be a legal offence to buy petrol without using a card.
When paying online, or by direct debit, the carbon account would be debited directly.
Anyone who doesn’t use up their credits in a year can sell them to someone who wants more credits. Trading would be done through specialist companies.