Thursday, July 20, 2006

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
Guardian Unlimited

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.

(snip)

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.

(snip)

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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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Utility companies, Austin Energy excepted, will never seriously move towards renewable energy. The IEEE Power Engineering Society’s most recent magazine was devoted to the effects of energy production on the world environment. All the articles discussed “clean” coal, nuclear generation, and greater efficiency from fossil fuel generation. Renewable energy was dismissed as continuing to produce tiny percentages of the energy mix at great cost and with reliability too low to measure.

We should move away from reliance on utility companies. Renewable energy industries should move toward putting renewable energy generation on the customer’s side of the utility company’s meter and relegate utility companies to functioning as a battery (at least until ultra capacitors become readily available).

I agree with OZ that relying on government (with the possible exception of some enlightened local governments) to develop renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. CHF

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This 101 degree weather in my neck of the woods would seems to indicate that climate change is not only real, it is here and now and yet not many people seem to be taking it seriously. A friend, who considers himself aware, e-mailed me about the heat wave they were experiencing in L.A. and then said that he guessed that "there was something to this Climate Change" - Duh.

I doubt that we can wait it out until everyone is convinced. Even those that know aren't willing to sacrifice.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Guardian story is good example of our unwillingness to make a change.

Thanks for the perspective on the Carbon Tax.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you would oppose this?

You seem to not want to make the sacrifices what are going to be necessary.

6:32 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

I don't want sacrifices. I want positive investments and leadership that transform our culture, our world, and our situation.

Draconican measures will only create a counter movement of resistance to these changes.

thanks for the comments all.

6:35 AM  

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