Carbon rationing

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Carbon rationing is a concept whereby personal carbon allowances can be allocated or "rationed".

Carbon rationing focuses on just the energy a person buys – their electricity, gas, petrol and air travel – not the energy used already to make food, cars or domestic appliances – so the complexity is reduced.

Carbon rations could be established by determining a maximum permissible amount of emissions (an emissions budget) and dividing a right to a portion of that budget to each citizen (a ration or carbon quota). This is currently under serious study by the British government.

By contrast, carbon credits essentially limit the carbon emissions by end users based on the science, and then use financial incentives to drive efficiency and innovation.

The concept of carbon rationing is similar to the food and fuel rationing that was used in World War 2 to reduce domestic consumption.

Carbon rationing could be more empowering than many forms of regulation because instead of banning particular products, services or activities, or taxing them heavily, a personal carbon allowance enables citizens to make trade-offs.

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