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Trialling personal carbon allowances: report

 
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Keepz



Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:48 pm    Post subject: Trialling personal carbon allowances: report Reply with quote

Thought you might be interested. The UK Energy Research Centre write "there is currently insufficient evidence to decide whether a PCA scheme would be an effective policy ... key concerns are its perceived lack of social and political acceptability". They go on to consider the value and feasibility of a trial run.

http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/downloads/fawcett-pca07.pdf
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
Posts: 184
Location: London

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:35 pm    Post subject: Political Acceptability Reply with quote

The key phrase is "political acceptability", I think.

The general public can be won round with printed guarantees or certificates of their Carbon Entitlement, their Carbon Shares.

But the Government is very, very stick-in-the-mud in my view - all old boy's network stuff - jobs-for-the-boys-from-Oxford.

[ OK, hands up, anyone know of a member of a Government Department who was NOT colleged at Cambridge, Oxford, Durham or St Andrews (not including the ones drafted in from the USA) ? ]

The culture seems to be very CBI - Corporate British Interests.

It seems to be very unacceptable to countenance any idea that does not promote business enterprise.

Hence the "decision" to call for new Nuclear build - lots of "investment" there for large enterprises. Ditto Carbon Capture and Storage (or as I call it "the legendary CCS solution").

Carbon Rationing would only give lolly to a Central Carbon Bank and a Central Carbon Register of Rations/Allowances, bypassing industry altogether.

A Carbon Tax would be politically acceptable, as Governments understand taxation, and their role in spending the revenue on good things such as "regeneration" development (contracts for the builder boys) and infrastructure such as roads (more contracts for the builders).

Carbon Trading is a little more dicey, as it involves enterprises actually controlling their inputs, but to make up for that, they can pass their lack of profit on to their customers - calling it an "opportunity cost" of having to pay for the Allocations (although none have actually been auctioned yet).

Carbon Trading is really glorified Carbon Offsetting, attempting to outsource Carbon Emissions to somewhere else - but there's little left to absorb it...

Carbon Taxation does not really bit the bullet of setting a Carbon Cap.

So, we're back to plain old rations.

Like it or not, we have a responsibility to keep the economics of Carbon Control as stable as possible - and that implies controlling both the upstream in Carbon Supply and downstream in Carbon Consumption.

Rations for both business and citizens.

We don't need to trial it. We just need to do it. Cos it's the only way forward.

Like the good researcher ladies and gent in the report you linked say :-

"Despite the increasing public and political interest
in personal carbon allowances and trading, it is a
subject which is very much under-researched, with
few active individual researchers or groups."

It's not really the fault of the public that Carbon Rationing hasn't been decided upon.

We've been labouring trying to make ourselves heard about the stupidity of Big Engineering "Solutions" to the Energy Crunch.

Big Engineering always involves massive amounts of Carbon Dioxide Emissions - yes - that includes CCS.

And Nuclear - the first ten years or so of a Nuclear Plant's life is construction - involving massive Carbon Expenditure.

Another report, another review, another piece of research, more R&D.

What we need less of is reports. What we need more of is sound decision-making.

CCS might be able to offer us 5% emissions reductions.
Nuclear another 5%.

Where will the other 70% come from if Gordon Brown really has agreed that the 60% by 2050 in the Climate Change Bill actually means 80% for us ?
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Andy Hunt



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose you could say that there is already a carbon market - the international markets for fossil fuels.

Is there a chance that if a new carbon trading system was introduced, it could be rendered irrelevant by rising prices of fossil fuels? What if the 'real' market price of carbon started to exceed that set by the trading scheme?
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
Posts: 184
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: The Virtual Carbon Market Reply with quote

@Andy Hunt

You're quite right - there is a de facto Carbon Market - the global trade in Fossil Fuels.

And yes - because of the ineffectiveness and tardiness of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (amongst others worldwide), the virtual price of Carbon has been dribbling along the sea floor with no effect whatsoever - and has been surpassed by the "market" price for Oil that has Peaked.

I want to point out that I don't support Carbon Trading as a sole measure - I think it is an inefficient mechanism for controlling Carbon on its own.

What it needs is for the flow of Carbon to be restricted, both upstream in Carbon Supply and downstream in Carbon Demand.

And the most effective way to do that is via TEQs - 60% of the Carbon Allowances going to business and 40% Carbon Rations going to consumers in the economy (I mean, citizens).

I only support Carbon Trading within each sector - in other words businesses should not be able to buy an individual's Carbon Ration.

This would be a form of protection - Carbon Rights.
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Defra Jump Ship Reply with quote

Yes, along with other appalling news and views from our beloved leaders, today we get the formal and official dumping of a pilot for personal carbon allowances (see below).

It's all blah blah and shows where our dear Government is currently at : la la land. There ain't a snowball's chance in a vain bonfire that the British Government will be able to "deliver" 60% cuts in Carbon Emissions by 2050 for the nation unless they take on board Carbon Rationing.

If they can't figure that out, what's the point in having a City full of Financial Accountants ? Even the big players in the Carbon Markets say that Carbon Pricing is irrelevant without strict caps, and the EU ETS cannot deliver those because Europe is an open system. Open to Carbon Leakage to the ROW Rest of the World.

The only way that the Climate Change Bill can bring 60% by 2050 is if we count Carbon differently. Maybe the 60% will only apply to Government Departments. Maybe it will only apply to household electricity use.

Even David Miliband has lost his mind. He came on Newsnight the other night to say that having new coal-fired power plants would be fine. That aviation wasn't a big problem. That asylum for Climate Migrants should not be granted. And he even claimed that British Carbon Dioxide emissions have gone down in the last decade, which clearly didn't include aviation figures...

Of course, he's ditched powerful ideas about Carbon Rationing in order to prepare his politics to be Labour-ready for the next General Election. I know he wants to be Great Leader. Even I want him to be Great Leader. He's such an attractive and intelligent and sensitive man.

But let me get you straight, young David : Carbon Trading between 12,000 point emitters in Europe, even with strong caps on their sectors, will not deliver anything like 60% Carbon Cuts. It omits the largest Carbon Flows of all : those emissions of the end consumers, because they are obviously not included in counting the emissions of the producers.

And Mr Miliband, we have to drop 60% in all sectors, not just road transport or home heating. We have to drop 60% in all sectors, like aviation, like electricity generation, like supermarkets, like public offices.

After all, if one sector is forced to cut, and the others are not, there will be nastiness. It is anti-competitive to target some sectors of the economy for Carbon Cuts and not others.

Go on, back a Carbon Ration Registry. Carbon has to have a value across the whole of society and the economy. You know it makes sense.

Twin pools of Carbon Rights, one for profit-making producers, the other for consumer citizens, with no trade between them, but trade within them, circulated through a central Carbon Bank and accounted by a central Carbon Registry.

It's the only way to control Carbon.

We can't wait 15 years and then say "Oops ! We missed the target !"

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/08/renewableenergy.carbonemissions


Government scraps 'unrepresentative' carbon card scheme

* David Adam
* guardian.co.uk,
* Thursday May 8 2008

Ministers have scrapped radical plans to test a carbon rationing scheme that would have forced citizens to carry a carbon card to swipe every time they bought petrol or paid an electricity bill.

The plan was announced by David Miliband, former environment secretary, in 2006 as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and tackle global warming. But officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said today that the idea was too expensive and would be unpopular.

Defra said a feasibility study found that carbon rationing was "an idea ahead of its time in terms of its public acceptability and the technology to bring down costs." While there were "no insurmountable technical obstacles", the study found such a scheme would cost ?1-2bn each year and would be perceived as unfair.

Defra said it was abandoning plans for a pilot scheme to test the idea, because it would be "unrepresentative" and "could lead to failure and subsequent public distrust and ridicule."

In a statement, the department said: "The government remains interested in the concept of personal carbon trading and, although it will not be continuing its research programme at this stage, it will monitor the wealth of research focusing on this area and may introduce personal carbon trading if the value of carbon savings and cost implications change."

Under the scheme, all UK citizens from the Queen down would have been allocated an identical annual carbon allowance, stored as points on an electronic card similar to Air Miles or supermarket loyalty cards. Points would then 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.

Announcing the idea in 2006, Miliband said: "In the long term there may be potential to make a system work effectively and in a way that is arguably more equitable, more empowering and more effective than the traditional tools of information, tax and regulation." He acknowledged there were problems, but said "bold thinking is required because the world is in a dangerous place".
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clv101
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: Defra Jump Ship Reply with quote

jo wrote:
There ain't a snowball's chance in a vain bonfire that the British Government will be able to "deliver" 60% cuts in Carbon Emissions by 2050 for the nation unless they take on board Carbon Rationing.

Not a snowball's chance in hell of 60% cuts by 2050? You seem to be talking as if emissions won't fall without pro-active action? Maybe you point is Government delivery, but I think 60% cuts by 2050 are quite possible, even likely. Remember Russia's carbon emissions fell [b]31% within 5 years[/i] from 1991, without any pro-active effort by the Government, trading schemes or public awareness of the pollutant nature.

By 2050, globally oil production is likely to be less than half today's level, gas will also be strongly down, the economic shock that will cause could decimate the global economy depressing all activity.

The critical thing to remember is that business as usual is not possible - the "do nothing" scenario will not see continued economic growth and CO2 emission growth for many decades to come.
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jo



Joined: 20 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 2:05 pm    Post subject: Just Stop Burning Reply with quote

@clv101

Sadly, we do need to have properly calculated and legally enforced Carbon Control. Some very good thinkers have done thought experiments about energy consumption and have concluded that we need to use LESS NOW even before there are economic constraints.

Here's two examples :-

http://rutledge.caltech.edu/
"Hubbert's Peak, The Coal Question, and Climate Change
Dave Rutledge
Chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science
California Institute of Technology
Currently there is a vigorous debate about fossil-fuel production, and whether it will be sufficient in the future. At the same time, there is an intense effort to predict the contribution to future climate change that will result from consuming this fuel. There has been surprisingly little effort to connect these two. Do we have a fossil-fuel supply problem? Do we have a climate-change problem? Do we have both? Which comes first? We will see that trends for future fossil-fuel production are less than any of the 40 UN scenarios considered in climate-change assessments. The implication is that producer limitations could provide useful constraints in climate modeling. We will also see that the time constants for fossil-fuel exhaustion are about an order of magnitude smaller than the time constant for temperature change. This means that to lessen the effects of climate change associated with future fossil-fuel use, reducing ultimate production is more important than slowing it down."
In his presentation he recommends that we leave coal in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophe.

Paul Mobbs looks at how we go "Less" :-
http://www.fraw.org.uk/ebo/index_info.shtml
"Less is a Four Letter Word
We are told that solutions to the environmental and energy crisis must work within the current system... capitalism is the only game in town. But what if that's just not possible? If we look at the world in terms of physical reality growth cannot continue in the long-term ? both energy depletion and climate change preclude that option. There is only one solution that works in the long-term, which directly addresses both energy depletion and climate change, but unfortunately it definitely doesn't work well within the current system: "LESS!""
http://www.fraw.org.uk/download/ebo/presentation-less.pdf
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clv101
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Just Stop Burning Reply with quote

I'm aware of Rutledge's and Mobb's thinking, we published Rutledge's work on coal on The Oil Drum a while back. Note Rutledge highlights the time constant of depletion vs climate change, suggesting rate's are not very important compared to magnitudes.

I don't disagree that carbon controls are needed, have argued in the past (a couple of weeks before Monbiot) for supply side approaches to fossil fuel production, especially coal. My point here was addressed towards your "snowball's chance in a vain bonfire" comment about achieving reductions. It sounded like you were assuming business as usual, discounting fossil fuel depletion and any associated economic ramifications. Business as usual is impossible, it?s not on the table. The question is how a passive response will/can differ than a pro-active response. The Russian example shows how economic collapse can pull down CO2 emissions extremely rapidly. A passive response to depletion could result in such an outcome on a more global scale?
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Shaun Chamberlin



Joined: 04 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Just Stop Burning Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
The question is how a passive response will/can differ than a pro-active response. The Russian example shows how economic collapse can pull down CO2 emissions extremely rapidly. A passive response to depletion could result in such an outcome on a more global scale?


Exactly what I've been thinking about. Clearly the Russian example results in massive suffering, and a pro-active sensible response is vastly preferable, but try as we might the portents aren't good for such a thing. So I wonder - if we did see the collapse of this fossil-fuel dependent compex globalised society, would it bring down emissions fast enough to avoid climate catastrophe and allow our life-support systems to recover? An interesting, if dark, question.
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