Many MPs are in favour of giving us all our own carbon credits to help Britain to meet its emission targets.

The UK’s Environmental Audit Committee believes the proposal would be more successful in cutting carbon emissions than the introduction of “green” taxes.

The idea is that we would all receive an annual limit for fuel and energy use and if we exceed our “credits” we could buy more from people who are using less.

The committee has criticised ministers for putting the proposal on the back burner following an early study. It admits that the carbon credits plan is unlikely to be popular with the public but says the government needs to show courage in tackling carbon emissions.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the committee, says “green” taxes, such as a petrol tax, are unfair to poorer people because everyone – from billionaires to those on the breadline – are charged the same amount.

“Under the personal carbon trading, someone who doesn’t have an enormous house or swimming pool or 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.”

He said the scheme could be run on the same lines as supermarket loyalty schemes with everyone given a plastic card.

You can get a better idea of how it would work here

But critics say the proposal is ahead of its time, could cost up to £2 billion to set up and has real practical problems – such as deciding how to set the rate according to a person’s age, location or health.




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