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Personal Carbon Trading: a critical examination of proposals for the UK

Personal Carbon Trading: a critical examination of proposals for the UK

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To effectively mitigate climate change in the long-term, capping carbon dioxide emissions at the individual level has been proposed. Known as personal carbon allowances, these would be decreased year-on-year. Trading in personal carbon allowances would be encouraged, as a means to effectively and equitably reduce emissions overall. This conceptual paper aims to critically examine personal carbon trading (PCT) by questioning the assumptions underlying this proposal and identifying the gaps in current thinking. The paper first discusses the origins and development of the PCT ideas, identifies key players and proponents of the proposals, and examines their economic bases. Lessons from several related areas of experience (the EU Emissions Trading System, voluntary Carbon Rationing Action Groups, and Complementary Currencies) are used to examine likely success factors and inform future policy and implementation of PCT. A set of four critical issues are identified, which straddle political, social, economic, environmental, cultural and ethical domains, and which demand greater attention before the PCT idea can be progressed.
To effectively mitigate climate change in the long-term, capping carbon dioxide emissions at the individual level has been proposed. Known as personal carbon allowances, these would be decreased year-on-year. Trading in personal carbon allowances would be encouraged, as a means to effectively and equitably reduce emissions overall. This conceptual paper aims to critically examine personal carbon trading (PCT) by questioning the assumptions underlying this proposal and identifying the gaps in current thinking. The paper first discusses the origins and development of the PCT ideas, identifies key players and proponents of the proposals, and examines their economic bases. Lessons from several related areas of experience (the EU Emissions Trading System, voluntary Carbon Rationing Action Groups, and Complementary Currencies) are used to examine likely success factors and inform future policy and implementation of PCT. A set of four critical issues are identified, which straddle political, social, economic, environmental, cultural and ethical domains, and which demand greater attention before the PCT idea can be progressed.

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Published by: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research on Dec 12, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/12/2012

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Personal Carbon Trading:a critical examination ofproposals for the UK
 
Gill Seyfang, Irene Lorenzoni and Michael Nye
August
2009
 
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Working Paper
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Personal Carbon Trading: a critical examination ofproposals for the UK
Gill Seyfang, Irene Lorenzoni and Michael Nye
Tyndall Working Paper 136, August 2009
Please note that Tyndall working papers are "work in progress". Whilst they arecommented on by Tyndall researchers, they have not been subject to a full peer review.The accuracy of this work and the conclusions reached are the responsibility of theauthor(s) alone and not the Tyndall Centre.
 
 
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Personal Carbon Trading: a critical examination of proposals for the UK
Gill Seyfang*, Irene Lorenzoni and Michael NyeSchool of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK *Corresponding author:g.seyfang@uea.ac.uk Tel: +44(0)1603 592956Fax: +44(0)1603 393739
Abstract
To effectively mitigate climate change in the long-term, capping carbon dioxide emissions atthe individual level has been proposed. Known as personal carbon allowances, these would bedecreased year-on-year. Trading in personal carbon allowances would be encouraged, as ameans to effectively and equitably reduce emissions overall. This conceptual paper aims tocritically examine personal carbon trading (PCT) by questioning the assumptions underlyingthis proposal and identifying the gaps in current thinking. The paper first discusses the originsand development of the PCT ideas, identifies key players and proponents of the proposals,and examines their economic bases. Lessons from several related areas of experience (the EUEmissions Trading System, voluntary Carbon Rationing Action Groups, and ComplementaryCurrencies) are used to examine likely success factors and inform future policy andimplementation of PCT. A set of four critical issues are identified, which straddle political,social, economic, environmental, cultural and ethical domains, and which demand greater attention before the PCT idea can be progressed.
Key words
Personal carbon allowances, policy, climate change, mitigation, carbon management, trading.

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