Memorandum to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry into Personal Carbon Allowances

The Environmental Audit Commission of the United Kingdom Parliament is investigating the feasibility of introducing Personal Carbon Allowances to control greenhouse gas emissions. Feasta member Laurence Matthews was invited by the EAC to supply information about Cap and Share, and the text of the submission can be downloaded here.

Executive summary: The Committee asks whether personal carbon allowances (PCAs) are desirable, and whether they are practical. There remain doubts about their practicality, and PCAs are only desirable because of the ends they achieve – they cap personal carbon emissions effectively and equitably. Cap & Share achieves these same ends, but is simpler, faster and cheaper to implement. Under Cap & Share the UK emissions cap is shared out equally to the adult population: everyone receives certificates which they sell, via banks, to the primary fossil fuel suppliers. Cap & Share delivers personal carbon trading implicitly, avoiding many of the problems with PCAs (impacts, operational feasibility, public acceptability) that concern the Committee.