The Carbon Cops
Fourteen years ago, I wrote in my first book on climate change, that the "powers that be" will not move boldly towards a solar light to energy economy, but instead, will begin to regulate carbon instead. I made the point that when this event becomes clear, that this intrusive hand into our lives and its dangerous implications to our freedoms should be rejected.
Here is exhibit number one.
Miliband unveils carbon swipe-card plan
David Adam and David Batty
Wednesday July 19, 2006
The environment minister, David Miliband, today unveiled a radical plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by charging individuals for the amount of carbon they use.
Under the proposals, consumers would carry bank cards that record their personal carbon usage. Those who use more energy - with big cars and foreign holidays - would have to buy more carbon points, while those who consume less - those without cars, or people with solar power - would be able to sell their carbon points.
Points would be deducted at point of sale for every purchase of non-renewable energy. People who did not use their full allocation, such as families who do not own a car, would be able to sell their surplus carbon points into a central bank.
High energy users could then buy them - motorists who had used their allocation would still be able to buy petrol, with the carbon points drawn from the bank and the cost added to their fuel bills.
To reduce total UK emissions, the overall number of points would shrink each year.
The move marks the first serious step towards state-enforced limits on the carbon use of individuals, which scientists say may be necessary in the fight against climate change.
It extends the principle of carbon trading - already in place between heavy polluters such as power companies and steelmakers - to consumers, with heavy carbon users forced to buy unused allowances from people with greener lifestyles.
"As a planet we are consuming three times the amount of resources that we have got," the environment secretary told Channel 4 News. "If you think about us as individuals - we are emitting about four tonnes of carbon every year and that's probably three times as much as we can afford; as a household on average 10 tonnes."
The principle was included in the government's review of energy policies, which said a new cross-departmental group "will examine what new policy options, such as tradable personal carbon allowances, could be deployed to stimulate local action".
"It will inevitably have to be introduced so that consumers, along with other sectors, take responsibility for what they do." (more)
Some will find this plan reasonable. (and in many ways it is)
But personal carbon allowances, without a global post promethean effort,
will be a full employment act for regulators,
and a serious dent in our domestic tranquility.
I'm all for a carbon tax,
but I want to drive into the hill country sans permit.
We certainly don't need carbon cops.
We need electric cars with ultra caps,
and power paints, and
utilitity companies willing to explore new solutions
to our very real problems.
I rest my case. (for today)
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