10 Downing St response to CarbonRationing and C&C petiti

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10 Downing St response to CarbonRationing and C&C petiti

Postby BrianDavey » Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:07 pm

A very important position statement has been made as the response from 10
Downing Street to the petition on its web site asking that:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Adopt Carbon Rationing and
Contraction and Convergence."

The response is as follows:

The UK Government has been a consistent leader in the field of climate change
and energy policy by setting bold targets and pursuing ambitious policies in
terms of mitigation and adaptation, both domestically and internationally.
Within the EU, the UK has pushed hard for ambitious greenhouse gas reduction
targets and at home we have already shown progress in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and are set to double our Kyoto target.

On 13 March we announced a draft Climate Change Bill that we propose should
put into statute the UK's targets to reduce CO2 emissions through domestic
and international action by 60% by 2050 and 26-32% by 2020, against a 1990

The Climate Change Bill is the first of its kind in any country and will set a
long-term legal framework for reducing emissions by this and future
Governments that will provide greater clarity and confidence for businesses
and individuals to plan and invest in delivering the changes needed to move
to a low carbon economy.

Contraction and Convergence is a framework approach for future action based on
equal per-capita emissions allowances. It is one suggested approach on how to
create a future framework for addressing climate change after the first
commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. Broadly, the idea is that in the
long-term all people in the world have equal rights to emit greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere.

Certain aspects of Contraction and Convergence are appealing, including the
identification of a fixed level for stabilisation of greenhouse gas
concentrations, and comprehensive global participation. Any framework that
incorporates long term targets can offer countries greater certainty about
their national targets and provide a clear signal to allow business to plan
ahead and help drive investment in new and better technologies. The principle
of equity is extremely important to all countries but in particular
developing countries and a number of countries have expressed an interest in
using per capita emissions as a basis for assigning responsibility for future

Given that there is still some way to go in building the level of consensus
within the international community that would be required to agree on a
framework for the way forward, it would be premature for the UK government to
commit itself to any particular framework at this stage. We are, however,
giving full consideration both to the possible frameworks themselves and also
to the elements within them that could be used to form part of a workable

The Government is looking into the potential value of personal carbon trading
(PCT). This is just one of a number of possible long-term options being
explored for making individuals better informed about, and involved in,
tackling climate change. An initial scoping study has been produced for Defra
by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. This study concluded that a personal
carbon allowance and trading system has the potential to achieve emissions
savings in a fairer way than carbon taxes. The Government is now developing a
work programme which should provide the information to lead to a decision on
whether or not a personal carbon allowance is a realistic and workable policy
option .

This pre-feasibility study is addressing high-level questions relating to the
economic value of PCT and its strategic fit, equity and distributional
issues, public acceptability, and technical feasibility and cost. It is being
designed to complement the work being undertaken by researchers and academics
such as The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, the Environmental Change
Institute and the Royal Society for Arts (RSA).Once the pre-feasibility
analysis has been completed, Ministers will take a view on whether to devote
more time and resources to this area. In the meantime, we await the results
of the pre-feasibility analysis, along with the results of RSA's Carbon
Limited project with interest.

Turning to the question about the poor being worse off from PCT, CSE's scoping
report states that individual carbon trading based on equal per capita
allocation of allowances could be fiscally progressive. In general, those on
lower incomes tend to emit less carbon dioxide than average, whilst those on
higher incomes tend to emit more carbon dioxide than average. Hence the
report states that those on higher incomes would, on average, need to buy
allowances from those on lower incomes if they wish to sustain their more
carbon-intensive lifestyles. As a result people would be rewarded for leading
low-carbon lifestyles. It is clear that Personal Carbon Trading needs to be
considered in the round with other emissions reduction mechanisms. The
potential impact of Personal Carbon Trading on different individuals and
households needs to be assessed and linked to other policy instruments such
as those designed to eradicate fuel poverty. The CSE's scoping study can be
found on Defra's website.

The Government is committed to improving energy efficiency as part of its
overall strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Promoting energy
conservation in businesses is a key part of the Government's policy to help
meet its climate change targets. The cheapest, cleanest and safest way of
helping to meet these targets is to use less energy. The Department funds a
number of bodies to promote the efficient and sustainable use of energy.
The Carbon Trust was launched in April 2001, as part of the Climate Change
Levy (CCL) "package", to take the lead in improving business and public
sector energy efficiency and to support the development of a low carbon
economy in the UK. The Trust is a private non-profit company and receives
funding from Defra, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
(DBERR) and via separate relationships with the Devolved Administrations. For
further information about the Trust and its activities see their website at
www.carbontrust.co.uk or telephone 0800 085 2005.

The Government have also provided funds to the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to
run a wide ranging programme of work to promote energy efficiency The Trust
works to promote, through partnership, the sustainable and efficient use of
energy in the domestic sector by improving awareness of energy efficiency,
providing information and advice, and working with the market to develop and
market energy saving goods and services. The Trust also encourages local
authorities to develop energy efficiency strategies for their housing stock.
The EST website is http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ and the telephone
number is 0800 512 012.

The Government is pleased to hear of your interest in these issues and let me
reassure you that no major industrial country has done more than the UK to
tackle climate change. The Government have already set out significant steps
to strengthen our domestic programme on climate change through the Climate
Change Programme and the Energy Review. The Climate Change Bill and the
Energy White Paper will take us further, but we are not in any way
complacent. The Government will continue to work to meet the challenge of
climate change, domestically and internationally.
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