My friend Tim has had a good idea. One of his many, it must be said. He suggested that we should all have carbon vouchers or rations, and that these should be tradeable. The levels of our carbon consumption would have to be set by the government, but, once set, government involvement would cede to market forces (which the government would surely like).
How would this work? It’s surely possible to have a carbon credit card, which you would have to produce alongside any monetary payment. So my full tank of petrol would cost me x pounds and y carbon credits. My gas bill would charge me in pounds and in carbon credits (hereafter CCs). Part of my train fare would be a carbon payment. (In these two cases, the CC would have to be set by the government – a bit like VAT.) I’d have to pay for both with money and my CC card.
Misers amongst us would suddenly see the attraction of cycling up hills in the rain. More seriously, those living carbon neutral lives could profit from us less green individuals, as they could sell their CCs. No doubt there would be a healthy black market in CCs and little old ladies would be robbed by joyriders for their CC cards, but a huge plus would be the rapid decline of the Chelsea Tractor.
We each of us need to take responsibility for our environment and our impact on it. This seems a good and fair way of doing it. As I write this, I admit that I’m using a computer in a room with lights on and a radiator wafting warm air – I wonder how many CCs that’s cost me.