Feeds

UK.gov torpedoes personal carbon credit plans

'Not a universally desirable outcome' - no, really?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

The British government has come out firmly against plans for personal carbon trading, diplomatically saying the idea is "ahead of its time", would cost too much to implement, probably wouldn't see widespread participation, and anyway wouldn't deliver much in the way of benefits.

The decision comes with the release today of a Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA) "pre-feasibility" study into personal carbon trading. DEFRA's investigators have concluded that the time is not right for such a scheme, and will carry out no further research. However, the government will continue to monitor developments.

The idea of personal carbon trading would be to assign every individual a quota of carbon credits, which they would need in order to buy heating or vehicle fuel, electricity, or other things deemed under the scheme to cause carbon emissions. People whose lifestyle required little of these items could sell their surplus credits to others wishing to cook food at home, take regular showers, wash and iron their clothes frequently, or otherwise hoggishly damage the environment in pursuit of unnecessary personal pleasure.*

According to DEFRA:

Personal carbon trading could potentially be justified if it were effective at encouraging individuals to demand fewer energy services. However as this may, in part, involve living in a colder house ... some might argue that this is not a universally desirable outcome.

The cost of this not "universally desirable outcome" would be high.

Implementing personal carbon trading would involve significant costs. It would require IT and banking systems, payment infrastructure, and secondary markets... In addition to the implementation, there would be ongoing costs for administration, verification, auditing and enforcement... Initial set up costs would be between £700m and £2bn. Running costs would be between £1bn and £2bn a year.

The government analysts reckoned personal carbon trading might cost us all £40 pa per head - and consume enough of our time, in working out our carbon plans etc, to soak up a further billion-odd pounds of economic activity.

On the issue of time, they noted that there would need to be a way for people who didn't have carbon smartcards - foreigners, the forgetful, those unable to be arsed, etc - to buy petrol or whatever. They noted that personal-carbon-market advocates such as Richard Starkey had suggested that people who didn't fancy spending all their time working out the best carbon deals could just flog off their allowance right away, leave their carbo-smartcards at home, and go back to living normally. But, as the civil servants dryly commented:

If the market for allowances is working efficiently there would be only a very small incentive to hold onto allowances... The amount received from selling all allowances immediately would be almost the same as the expected net present value of surrendering them steadily throughout the year.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.