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UK May Start Carbon Credit Trading For Individuals

Instead of charging taxes to be used to cut carbon emissions, the British government may issue personal carbon credits. Members of Parliament are suggesting that individuals be issued annual limits for their fuel and energy use. If they want to use more, they can buy the credits from the more frugal users. The plan would reward conservationists.

The proposing committee of parliament admitted that the public would not eagerly jump on board with the program. But, the committee could not ignore the benefits. The chairman said:

Under the personal carbon trading, someone who perhaps doesn't have an enormous house or swimming pool, someone who doesn't take several holidays in the Caribbean every year, will actually get a cash benefit if they keep a low carbon footprint.

Proponents also note that unlike a gas tax, which falls heavier on the poor, this would effectively redistribute money from the wealthy to the poor.

Does the government have a responsibility to advocate unpopular laws that are in the public interest? Personal carbon trading could be the key to getting the public invested in and aware of their impact on the environment. But, is it also unfair intrusions by the government? Should governments be focused on major producers, like corporations, instead of acting like an individual's morality managers?


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