Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
 


       Downsizer Forum Index -> Energy Efficiency and Construction/Major Projects
JB

MPs back personal carbon credits

MPs back personal carbon credits

Good? bad? impractical? intrusive? Opinions?
Treacodactyl

It's an idea I've always liked although, by the looks of it, it'll be introduced too late to be of much use. The bit "would cost 1bn-2bn a year to run" is shocking especially as that probably means much more judging by previous government estimates.
boisdevie1

It depends on where they set the limits. But to be honest I can't see it being accepted by Joe Public who doesn't care.
gnome

that is a consertvative assessment. the admin costs alone would be phenomenal. who is goin to gather and process the stats? it's a bit like that half baked idea of everyone gettihng regular full medical checkups - there aren't enough doctors in the country to do it. the ones we have barely have time to conduct a brief interview with peopl who actually book in an appointment because they are ill.

nice dea - but totally unworkable.

there are fewer factories than people so why ot aply it to industries instead???
OP

If this is run as a government project, it will cost a fortune, and won't work. Even more dangerously, it will be perverted as a tool for raising more taxes and intruding in the private lives of citizens. And after a couple of years they will put the data on CD and lose it in the post.

However, it is still a very good idea. If we could find a way to make it work without letting the government get involved it would be good.
alison

I wonder how it would be managed for businesses like mine. Would I have to collect coupons, if someone chooses to have their raidiator on in the b&B?
gnome

the EA - which was underfunded anyway - has had it's budget cut, so having more work to do will simply tie up more resouces, so they wont be able to do their job effectively.
Treacodactyl

alison wrote:
I wonder how it would be managed for businesses like mine. Would I have to collect coupons, if someone chooses to have their raidiator on in the b&B?


How do they currently pay for it? I'd guess if everyone pays the same then your business would have to pay for the extra credits and pass the cost on to the customers, like it currently would do with heating costs, or if people pay extra for their heating then they'd have to pay extra for their carbon credits.

I think the simpler the system the better, it may not be perfect but at least there's a chance of something taking off and not disappearing in a huge pile of debt and government mismanagement and inaction.
alison

That is what I mean really. They don't pay, it is all included.

I keep envisiging carbon credits as a coupon book, but I can't see people wanting to hand over a coupon , if they stay here, arguing that they didn't use heating, even though it is available for them, and they still had the oil heating their hot water.

My fuel beills are huge, so I guess we would be over the household allowance, but that is for the business as well.
Treacodactyl

The link mentions something could operate something like supermarket loyalty schemes with a plastic card rather than a coupon book.

In your situation I would guess people would be encouraged to have carbon neutral accommodation etc.
Went

Personally I have a real problem with the concept that you can buy extra carbon credits - the whole idea is to get people to use less not to encourage those who may be in a privileged position to use more, thereby thinking it is ok. We need to find solutions that reduce our use no matter what our financial status.
OP

But you'd only be able to buy them off someone else ... maybe a student with no car who wanted the extra cash? The idea is that the overall carbon usage would go down.
Went

It wouldn't work like that though - there would be a black market economy for a start, those who have money would use exactly what they wanted - their usage would not decline. It's a daft idea that is unworkable and open to massive corruption and fraud whilst not reducing the amounts we use globally: a drop in the ocean.


Perhaps our MPs could set an example by issuing themselves with carbon credits that can only be used to visit their constituents and the houses of parliament. Travelling by second class rail, staying in eco friendly guest houses and one holiday a year.....in the UK. See how that works then I might listen.
Treacodactyl

Why wouldn't it work? Ok, there would certainly be people working outside the system just as there are people who evade paying tax, but many people would be in the system and surely that's better than doing nothing? Frankly, if you wait for everyone to become equal in terms of money then we may as well all turn the heating up, get a few patio heaters and take as many long haul holidays as we can because it'll not happen unless a major disaster happens that puts us on the verge of extinction......IMHO that is. Wink
OP

Provided we keep the government out of it I think it could work - I'd rather see Tescos organising it! Obviously there needs to be protection for those in need ... but it would be a tremendous start if we had near-universal personal carbon trading. MPs certainly do need to be brought within it, partly to set an example for everyone else, and partly to teach them a lesson!!
Went

Treacodactyl wrote:
Why wouldn't it work? Ok, there would certainly be people working outside the system just as there are people who evade paying tax, but many people would be in the system and surely that's better than doing nothing? Frankly, if you wait for everyone to become equal in terms of money then we may as well all turn the heating up, get a few patio heaters and take as many long haul holidays as we can because it'll not happen unless a major disaster happens that puts us on the verge of extinction......IMHO that is. Wink


Too expensive to implement, monitor and police......the carbon footprint of its monitoring system would probably wipe out any benefits. UK Population 60 million. The new industrialised nations such as China 1.33 billion (to name but one) - what serious impact would such a piecemeal project really achieve?. The whole concept of being able to buy your carbon footprint - wrong (imho) - we need global solutions that reduce the use of valuable resources not encourage the whims of those who can afford to indulge.
OP

Surely the idea of personal carbon trading is that it would reduce the use of valuable resources though ...?

And the whole concept is not just about buying your carbon footprint ... it is about being able to sell it as well.
Went

orangepippin wrote:
Surely the idea of personal carbon trading is that it would reduce the use of valuable resources though ...?

And the whole concept is not just about buying your carbon footprint ... it is about being able to sell it as well.


Profit from someone else's carbon use?.....don't think the maths or ethics debate works here.
OP

The idea of the personal carbon credits is to reduce the total carbon emissions of our society, not solve problems of inequality within it. Muddling one with the other (however laudable) will not help either goal.
gnome

it wold be great for me - i'd actually have some money for a change by seling my unused carbon credits to al those people who "need" to use their cars to take the kids half a mile to school. or to heat their patios to sauna temperatures. but what about people who live in ld draughty houses in remote communities? what about families that live in exposed areas and the council wont renovate the council house to make it energy efficient? besides - i wont be using any less because i ue little anyway, and the rich wasters will still use too mch, coz they will buy my unused credits. how about poor people having to shiver in the cold beause they have been forced to sell all their carbon credits to the rich so they can pay for rent and food? and who is going to pay for it all?

and another thing - it wll create wonderfu new opportunitie for criminals. it is not hard to make bio-diesel, which gangsters can sell to dodgy taxi drivers, who will then be able to get legit coupons which they can sel on the black market. it willl be a disaster.
the WEEE credt scheme failed, and so will this.
OP

We all agree "something has to be done" - has anyone here come up with a better suggestion? I don't think any of the points you raise are impossible to remedy within the general concept of personal carbon trading, and I certainly don't think we should use existing social inequalities as an excuse for doing nothing.
Went

orangepippin wrote:
The idea of the personal carbon credits is to reduce the total carbon emissions of our society, not solve problems of inequality within it. Muddling one with the other (however laudable) will not help either goal.


I do no think you can separate the two issues. That is how the world currently operates - Globalisation. You are creating an economy based on carbon trade-offs. Not an efficient way of helping reduction - only growth. That is how I fear it will materialise.
Treacodactyl

Ian33568 wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Why wouldn't it work? Ok, there would certainly be people working outside the system just as there are people who evade paying tax, but many people would be in the system and surely that's better than doing nothing? Frankly, if you wait for everyone to become equal in terms of money then we may as well all turn the heating up, get a few patio heaters and take as many long haul holidays as we can because it'll not happen unless a major disaster happens that puts us on the verge of extinction......IMHO that is. Wink


Too expensive to implement, monitor and police......the carbon footprint of its monitoring system would probably wipe out any benefits. UK Population 60 million. The new industrialised nations such as China 1.33 billion (to name but one) - what serious impact would such a piecemeal project really achieve?. The whole concept of being able to buy your carbon footprint - wrong (imho) - we need global solutions that reduce the use of valuable resources not encourage the whims of those who can afford to indulge.


I agree about the ridiculous cost and I can see what you're saying about other countries but does this mean it's acceptable for me to drive a massive gas guzzler and fly all over the world until all the big carbon users do something together? Perhaps the UK can implement something workable that sets an example to others?

In the world today I can't see what's wrong with carbon trading. You fix the countries overall annual allowance and then each year reduce it, thus eventually the vast majority of people will use less carbon and money will pass from high carbon users to low carbon users. Seems reasonable to me and is there a realistically better option until the revolution comes?
OP

I can't see what globalisation has to do with social inequalities in the UK, and the idea behind the personal carbon trading is to reduce our carbon footprint at a personal level, not a corporate / business thing. There may be better ways to do this, but this seems like an idea that should be taken forward - and as Treacodactyl says, what alternatives are there.
gnome

well whatever they do - black market bio-fuel is inevitable. any coupon system would also result in a thriving crime wave too, as they are very easy to forge. mabe this is another ack door or identity cards - if we each have an ID card that is used to buy fuel or taxi rides they can keep track of what we use and what we do.
OP

Yes, I totally agree with your concern about this being a back-door ID card scheme - one reason why I don't think the government should be allowed anywhere near it.
Went

orangepippin wrote:
I can't see what globalisation has to do with social inequalities in the UK, and the idea behind the personal carbon trading is to reduce our carbon footprint at a personal level, not a corporate / business thing. There may be better ways to do this, but this seems like an idea that should be taken forward - and as Treacodactyl says, what alternatives are there.


It will only serve to perpetuate a society that sees more as good, encourage a mentality where the currency of success is about being able to afford to buy 'carbon' i.e. travel more, bigger car, two cars, larger house to heat. The few who see it as an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint will be insignificant. Those who will sell are those in financial and personal hardship resulting in futher inequalities and unrest. To invest in schemes that educate and provide opportunities is a much more effective strategy than creating a 'carbon economy' .
OP

Ian33568 wrote:
To invest in schemes that educate and provide opportunities is a much more effective strategy than creating a 'carbon economy' .

How will an educational scheme be better at reducing the total UK carbon footprint than a personal carbon trading scheme? And will an educational scheme also reduce UK social inequalities at the same time?
cab

Ain't a bad idea. Isn't the best idea, in that it rather ignores the varying impact on the environment and present/future economy that different sources of fuel have, and that it clearly allows those who can afford to the luxury of polluting disproportionately more (which is the source of many of our current problems already!), but as we're lumbered with a political class that has an aversion to creative or imaginative solutions to any kind of problem, its hard to be entirely against this idea.
gnome

economics 101 - capitalism requires growth. this is just another comjuring trick to make it look as if something positive is being done, when really it isn't. carbon credit trading defeats the object - if a motorist pays a pedestrian for carbon credits that the pedestrian never uses anyway, so the motorist can keep driving, how is the environment helped? we have seen it fai for countries, we've seen it fai in industry. why on earth should it work for individuals? now if those of us who are pedestrians wer awarded an acre of land to plant on, the scheme might have some value.
Behemoth

Trading credits of course gets us nowhere if the net balance is zero.
Went

Only one answer:

Human + Consume Less = a future (let us hope)
Treacodactyl

Behemoth wrote:
Trading credits of course gets us nowhere if the net balance is zero.


The annual total emissions would be reduced year by year if you follow the example I gave. If people are not forced to sell their unused credits then the reductions could be even greater.

Ian33568 wrote:
Only one answer:

Human + Consume Less = a future (let us hope)


The problem with that and your idea of education is what do you do when people don't care and/or don't do anything. I can't see many people changing unless they are forced to.
Behemoth

It would ave to move hand in hand with alternatives. We can all reduce our energy consumption and putting a 'price' on it may help but there gets a point where people need to be able to switch to somethig else, e.g affordable renewables, work/life patterns etc.

While people can sell their credits, they will.

Off the top of my head could not the same effect be achieved by introducing rising block tariffs for energy bills? The more you use the more expensive it gets, there's an incentive to reduce your consumption and it tackles the large users first. Of course they're private companies so it would take Govt meddling to introduce such a thing.
gnome

Behemoth wrote:
Trading credits of course gets us nowhere if the net balance is zero.


precisely. but if they were non-transferable, and people who dont use theirs could trade them in for land intead - those of us that are already quite green could be even greener by growing crops on alotments. that way it does help the environment.
Treacodactyl

Behemoth wrote:
It would ave to move hand in hand with alternatives. We can all reduce our energy consumption and putting a 'price' on it may help but there gets a point where people need to be able to switch to somethig else, e.g affordable renewables, work/life patterns etc.


I assume the idea is it would eventually be cheaper to find alternatives.

gnome wrote:
Behemoth wrote:
Trading credits of course gets us nowhere if the net balance is zero.


precisely.


bandhead No, you reduce the countries carbon allowance year on year so it does go somewhere.
Went

Treacodactyl wrote:
Behemoth wrote:
Trading credits of course gets us nowhere if the net balance is zero.


The annual total emissions would be reduced year by year if you follow the example I gave. If people are not forced to sell their unused credits then the reductions could be even greater.

Ian33568 wrote:
Only one answer:

Human + Consume Less = a future (let us hope)


The problem with that and your idea of education is what do you do when people don't care and/or don't do anything. I can't see many people changing unless they are forced to.


Legislation will not make those who do not care, care or give a damn.....they will circumnavigate any restricitions. Education is surely a better solution. Generations of new and fresh minds can make a difference but only if they are fully aware of the ramifications of our neglect or poor decision making. The proposed scheme is unworkable - remember the poll tax fiasco based on number of people residing in a dwelling?.....Rationing precious resources through a points system or needs led sytem is not the way to go - we have taxes that are currently causing businesses and individuals great concern. Rationing would do exactly the same, and how on earth do you decide who is eligible to what?
Treacodactyl

Ian33568 wrote:
Education is surely a better solution.


It doesn't seem to be working at the moment. Quite a few people do seem to understand they should be cutting their carbon footprint but they aren't, any cutbacks are to save money not the planet. If there was a realistic chance of people doing things voluntarily then surely other things like tax would be voluntary? Most people will not change until forced, either by legislation, market forces or something more serious.
OP

Education is a good idea, of course, but I agree with Treacodactyl in that it is not actually making a real difference. But a well-run personal carbon trading scheme will in itself be excellent education, by making people aware of where the real carbon impacts arise. It will also, if setup correctly, make a real difference in actively reducing emissions because it incentivises people in a way that plain education will not.

The trick of course is to implement a good scheme. It will be all too easy for it to be hijacked for other purposes like raising more taxes.
cab

Always I hear people talking about alternatives to carbon... Well, for electricity generation there are alternatives, and of course fuel economy is massively important if they've got a chance to work. But there are no alternatives to oil, nor are any magic fixes. It is sheer folly to assume that we can continue with the same lifestyles by finding alternatives.
Went

Education isn't currently working because we choose not to educate fully. We need an urgent review to improve educational schemes.

I agree we also need incentives to encourage reduced carbon footprints but this proposal is not the one to do it.
JB

Treacodactyl wrote:
Ian33568 wrote:
Education is surely a better solution.


It doesn't seem to be working at the moment. Quite a few people do seem to understand they should be cutting their carbon footprint but they aren't ...


Or more dangerously they believe that they are reducing their impact. How many people are convinced they are being green because they bought a few low energy light bulbs and are blissfully ignorant that that helps about as much as spitting on the fire?
cab

JB wrote:

Or more dangerously they believe that they are reducing their impact. How many people are convinced they are being green because they bought a few low energy light bulbs and are blissfully ignorant that that helps about as much as spitting on the fire?


I got tutted at last week. I was reusing a carrier bag, stuffing it into my rucksack at a shop where I was buying some bits and bobs (because I didn't want my clean purchases to be contaminated with the soil covered stuff from the allotment!). Carrier bags are uncool, I'm destroying the earth, according to her. Said person tutting me then proceded to use a cloth bag, which was put into the boot of her 4x4 alongside assorted pre-packaged rubbish when I saw her loading up later (as I cycled past).

The idea that a few little changes are useful is great, and to be encouraged. The belief that this is enough needs to be solidly routed.
OP

Surely one of the benefits of personal carbon trading is that it would sort out the real value of, say re-useable shopping bags vs driving to the shops in a 4x4? At the moment most people simply do not know what the relative impact of all these things are.
cab

orangepippin wrote:
Surely one of the benefits of personal carbon trading is that it would sort out the real value of, say re-useable shopping bags vs driving to the shops in a 4x4? At the moment most people simply do not know what the relative impact of all these things are.


What, because the scheme will be so complex and detailed that it will take into account every single scrap of plastic that each person uses? You think that would be workable?
OP

As I said much earlier, it could be made to work ... provided we keep the government out of it.
JB

orangepippin wrote:
As I said much earlier, it could be made to work ... provided we keep the government out of it.


Then who does get to run it? It's a scheme which is interesting as a debating point to be discussed at polite dinner parties and the editorial columns of the serious papers. But to implement it in practice somebody would have to monitor everything you do, purchase and consume at every moment of your life and establish an environmental cost of that. The government is the only organisation capable of that level of control over your life but they are also the least fit organisation to be allowed that control.
cab

JB wrote:

Then who does get to run it? It's a scheme which is interesting as a debating point to be discussed at polite dinner parties and the editorial columns of the serious papers. But to implement it in practice somebody would have to monitor everything you do, purchase and consume at every moment of your life and establish an environmental cost of that. The government is the only organisation capable of that level of control over your life but they are also the least fit organisation to be allowed that control.


Or, instead, we simply don't run to such minutiae(sp?) in such a scheme.
OP

I agree that implementation would be extremely difficult, and I don't really have an answer as such ... just a concern that if it is left to the government it will not work. Our government has a hopeless track record of implementing this type of project, and will inevitably alter the objectives to maximise its own tax revenues and track the private lives of its citizens.

It certainly needs some out-of-the box thinking.
JB

cab wrote:
JB wrote:

Then who does get to run it? It's a scheme which is interesting as a debating point to be discussed at polite dinner parties and the editorial columns of the serious papers. But to implement it in practice somebody would have to monitor everything you do, purchase and consume at every moment of your life and establish an environmental cost of that. The government is the only organisation capable of that level of control over your life but they are also the least fit organisation to be allowed that control.


Or, instead, we simply don't run to such minutiae(sp?) in such a scheme.


Then what do you measure? We're back to questions such as how do you measure the personal carbon footprint of someone running a B&B? You could reduce the amount of data recorded but it becomes progressively less accurate and less useful as you do so, albeit that it is easier to implement.
cab

JB wrote:

Then what do you measure?


Don't ask me, it ain't my idea Laughing

Quote:

We're back to questions such as how do you measure the personal carbon footprint of someone running a B&B? You could reduce the amount of data recorded but it becomes progressively less accurate and less useful as you do so, albeit that it is easier to implement.


Theres a line between not measuring the tiny details and not measuring enough of anything; I don't immediately know where (if such a scheme were to be used) to draw that line.
OP

We can already measure gas, electricity, water, and petrol usage. This information is readily available to the individual consumer, and could be centrally pooled by the utility companies. We already know how many people live at each address - that's required for the council tax, so again, is data that is already available.

There are already (I think) a number of websites that will calculate your carbon footprint based on this and similar data.

There's already some kind of nursery school voucher system.

So maybe somewhere in that lot there is the nucleus of a workable personal carbon-trading scheme?

Where there's a will there's a way. But maybe there isn't the will to do this.
JB

orangepippin wrote:
There are already (I think) a number of websites that will calculate your carbon footprint based on this and similar data.


and almost everyone here has found that they generate nonsense results because their questions are too vague.
OP

It seems to come down to one of the following options:

1. Personal carbon trading is a good way for reducing our carbon footprint, and could be implemented

2. Personal carbon trading is a good way for reducing our carbon footprint, but could not be implemented

3. Personal carbon trading is not a good way of reducing our carbon footprint

I believe the first option is correct, but I agree it needs some inspired thinking to make it work.
Behemoth

orangepippin wrote:
We already know how many people live at each address - that's required for the council tax, so again, is data that is already available.


Unfortunately we don't. Trying to tie survey data, census data and updated population estimates together never gives the same number.

The council tax is based on the property, not the occupants. Occupancy is only declared to claim a rebate.

And pesky people keep moving.
Northern_Lad

Behemoth wrote:
And pesky people keep moving.


..leaving baths without panels.
Behemoth

orangepippin wrote:

1. Personal carbon trading is a good way for reducing our carbon footprint, and could be implemented


Do you mean trading on its own? You can only trade your surplus if someone want top buy it. If they don't you might as well use your allowance yourself. if someone has bought it to use, there's no benefit.

As Treac has pointed out trading can only be a benefit if it's used in conjuntion with some other mechanism for reducing consupmtion.
Behemoth

Northern_Lad wrote:
Behemoth wrote:
And pesky people keep moving.


..leaving baths without panels.


I'm reducing my carbon footprint by using fewer materials etc.
RichardW

JB wrote:
orangepippin wrote:
There are already (I think) a number of websites that will calculate your carbon footprint based on this and similar data.


and almost everyone here has found that they generate nonsense results because their questions are too vague.


Thats so right. They also have got the HIPS EPC so wrong. We have just had one done & our heating costs as worked out by them is just under 3k our actual costs are (800L x 42p) 336 plus "free wood" from a local wood yard (has cost of collection & some cutting) It has our lighting bill at 127 when we are 100% low energy bulbs. It berates us for not having a thermastat on a solid filed rayburn hot water system. It discounts our secondary heating system (wood stove that actualy does the most heating). It dismises the thermal mass of large stone houses.

If thats any thing to go by then the gov should not be allowed in the same room as anyone sorting out a new scheme.

Personaly a yearly (with a life time limit as well so you could have ONE big holiday abroard per life time) household carbon allowance is a good idea BUT NO TRADING. The limit should be reduced each year. If you keep under your limit then you pay less tax (income vat whatever) but if you go over you pay more tax (across the board) all purchases of green products should be tax / vat free.

But like everyone says keep the GOV out of it or all the savings will be lost in admin.

Justme
Treacodactyl

If you spent your carbon units when you bought fossil fuels it would be easier and more accurate than current systems in that how you use the stuff doesn't matter. For example, if you buy petrol then some of your units are used up; if you're a provider that uses fossil fuels then you would have to buy units and that cost is simply passed on and there's no need to track the carbon units through the supply chain. Carbon trading would be essential in such a scheme and most others I think.

If you merge a scheme with tax liabilities then surely it would have to be run by the government? Realistically I can't see anyone other than the government running any scheme.
gnome

argueing how the scheme might be successful and do some good if it is done properly and intelligently planned is pointless. it's the government that want to implement it, so they will want to do it their way - the wrong way. they are idiots - none of the could organise a piss-up at a brewery. it will cost more than it needs, it wont be intelligently planned, it will be too complicated for even stephen Hawkins to understand, and it will fail miserably. name one thing he government have done that is an exception.
dpack

unworkable imho
unrealistic unless global
im not sure the last few years of fossil fuel use will be offset by any small changes now or possibly even big changes now
learning not to be dependant on finite resources and also curbing human overbreeding may stabilise human society
it is what has happened over the last hundred years which may have altered the climate and will continue to do so
       Downsizer Forum Index -> Energy Efficiency and Construction/Major Projects
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home