Why personal carbon accounts will not work

There are two big reasons why no UK government will introduce personal carbon accounts. The first is the cost and complexity of setting them up. The second is the impossibility of doing them in a single country on a fair basis.

The initial response to the idea has concentrated on the enormous amount of computing and form filling there would need to be to capture everyone’s travel, heating, lighting and other uses of energy. It would make the ID computer look modest, cheap and not so intrusive. Government inspectors would need to watch over everyone’s habits and try to find a way of recording just about everything we do.

Equally implausible is the idea that this could be done in a single country, in the age of overseas travel and the internet. Presumably if I wanted the carbon debits of my shopping to be invisible to the UK authorities I could slip across to Calais to buy what I needed, or order it from abroad on the internet. If I wanted to undertake a round the world trip I could book a plane to Schipol under the carbon credits scheme in the UK, and then book the rest of the travel in Holland out of sight of the UK government.

To be realistic a scheme would need to be very detailed about our share in collective expenditure of energy. The regular fair goer would presumably have to spend carbon credits everytime he went on the big dipper. The shopaholic would presumably have to pay for their regular use of the shops’ heating and lighting, and the party animal might be asked to spare a crumb from their carbon account to help out the host with his electricity bill.

The mind boggles that anyone could think this kind of thing might be possible technically, let alone that you could sell it to an electorate punch drunk on the forms, rules and taxes already imposed. The way to encourage people to be greener is to give them simple rewards for good behaviour, as we did with lower fuel tax on lead free petrol.

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41 Comments

  1. Iain
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I think it might work if you separated travel energy consumption, which already has a penal tax regime applied to it, with home consumed energy. Home consumed energy could have a carbon credit attached to it.

    But the real problem of sustainability isn’t about the bad habits of the people, but the disastrous policies of the British establishment, for what is the point of people getting worked up about their carbon foot prints, when the British establishment is adding foot prints to the country as fast as they can arrange to let them into the country?

    I did a back of a fag packet calculation on road miles

    The ONS reported that between 1995 -2005 road mileage went from 340 bn miles to 400 bn miles.

    As there are 30 million licence holders that’s 13,000 miles per year.

    Between 1995-2005 they have increased our population by at least 2 million, which the Government reliably informs us are all making a economic contribution to the country, so thus fair to assume are road usurers. As such those added people have added some 26 bn road miles to the total or account for approaching 50% of the increase we have seen in the last decade!

    The Government also seeks to increase our population by another 6 million people, who will contribute some 78bn road miles. No guesses when Government ministers talk of the need to curtail the demand growth, what and where the demand growth is coming from!

    With 30-40% of energy used in the UK consumed in homes, the population growth engineered by the British establishment has a much more significant impact here, but it begs the question, why should I go along with the British states desire to ration resources to me, when they will just use this slack to fill the country up with more people?

  2. Bazman
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Does anyone agree that the single mother on benefits not able afford to fly/drive should be able to sell her carbon usage allowance to the rich business man to enable him to fly all over the world and drive his 6 litre car on business and pleasure?
    Thought not. You sympathise with the business man having to pay and do not belive the woman should get any money.
    This is the rub, not green issues or whether this policy is technically possible.
    The advantages to any government though would be great. Get out clauses for the rich elite to fly their helicopters and private jets whilst allowing the average Joe to be spied on in a limitless way.
    Computer memory is set to become less than $1000 for 70 years of stored film. With other advances in medicine and electronics a black box could be installed in a human allowing lifetimes to be recorded. The problem then becoming archiving of information. You would not need an ID card then.
    Am I going to far….?
    Unleaded petrol was a get out for car companies, so they did not have to develop more efficient engines and use the cheaper option of catalitic converters.

  3. Rob
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I could go on for ever, but, John, please get your mates in Parliament to understand one fact – the people of this country are over-governed. Get off our backs, repeal a whole host of taxes and laws and stop wasting even more taxpayers money with hot air politics that will never see the light of day.

    Mass surveillance via ID cards, mass surveillance via 'carbon footprinting' (boy, do I hate that phrase!!), mass surveillance via the NHS computer systems.

    STOP WASTING OUR TIME WITH RIDICULOUS SCHEMES and, when you do have power, just concentrate on running the country on a conservative basis. GET OUT OF OUR LIVES – you'll win by a landslide!

  4. Tom FD
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Such a complicated computer system would surely expend enough energy to negate much of said carbon offsetting…

  5. Chas
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Another reason that it will not work is that I, and a lot of other fighters for freedom, would rather face a prison sentence than participate in this piece of Orwellian totalitarian control freakery.

    Within 10 years the whole canard of man-made climate change will have been exposed for the scam it is, and the issue will have blown over, no doubt to be replaced by some other ludicrous prophesy of doom perpetrated by those who want to control our lives. As socialism continues its inexorable decline into oblivion, socialists will try ever more opaque ways of controlling us, destroying our economy and way of life. Don't let them.

  6. Mark Williams
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    John,

    You are quite right. The current "carbon tax" has the advantage that it is simple to understand and simple and inexpensie to collect. It has the disadvantage that many of its costs are passed through to others. For example, the price of a loaf of bread contains a non-negligible fuel duty cost that the end purchaser can do nothing about.

    The alternative is expensive to administer. A similar effect could be achieved by putting a duty on other hydrocarbons (and reducing the rate of VAT).

    The real problem is knowing what is included. I assume that MP's travelling on parliamentary business would be exempt. What about plantation owners with negative carbon footprints. Does this allow them to use more fossil fuels (cue lots of new forestry partnerships). Who qualifies for the credits? Can we expect lots of temporary EU residents registering in the UK and then disappearing home. What about fossil fuel usage in the UK by visitors, or by UK persons when overseas? Frankly it is not worth the effort.

  7. Posted May 26, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The fundamental reason against it is that the ostensible reason for it, catastrophic global warming, isn't taking place. Even the alarmists are saying there will be a hiatus in warming for the next 10 years, as there has been for the last 10, before the "trend" – the period of warming between 1975 & 1998 (which followed cooling from 1940 to 1975) resumes.
    http://environmentaldefenseblogs.org/climate411/2

    Sceptics suggest that the failure of the new sunspot cycle to appear makes significant cooling much more likely. Since the only objection to CO2 is to prevent catastrophic warming (its only other effect is to encourage plant growth which is a rather good thing) we should, if anything, be encouraging it.

    In any case the most effective way of measuring the resources put into a product is the price system. This works far better than all these snoopers, particularly since the "environmental" experts keep rejigging their figures & finding out that food flown from Africa actually uses less oil than local stuff grown using oil produced fertiliser, or that empty trains use more fuel per passenger than full cars.

    On the 3rd hand if the purpose of all this eco-scaring is nothing to do with the environment but is about persuading us to pay more taxes to fund an ever growing empire of government busybodies then personal enforced carbon accounts are clearly the way to go.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."Henry Louis Mencken

  8. Nick Dobson
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    This idea is barking mad. As others have already said, if it were ever implemented, it would make the (also barking mad) ID cards scheme look thoroughly benign. What we need is less Government, not more. The costs and complexity of such a scheme would be mind-boggling, and I suspect there would be no real benefits for many of the reasons John outlines. However I have every faith it will never happen, because Governments just can't make IT systems – even those of much lower complexity – happen correctly or economically.

  9. Posted May 26, 2008 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    The big problems of the current proposal are making it a personal allowance, and failing to separate the revenue generated from how the revenue is distributed.

    If you accept the need/desirability for the government to restrict total Carbon dioxide production in the Country/EU/World (presumably the point of the individual allowances), then much better to restrict at the point of carbon dioxide production or at the point of delivery of fuel to the end consumer, by requiring a carbon permit to be purchased for these activities covering _all_ production, and restricting the amount of carbon permits sold in line with best scientific advice – this would require a similar administration scheme to VAT, but affecting far fewer businesses. The permits should be sold and be fully tradeable in bulk, which will give a real market value to the costs of reducing carbon dioxide production, will reduce carbon dioxide production first in the areas where it causes least economic pain, and rapidly direct economic resources towards the areas that will require new investment and technology to reduce carbon dioxide production. By contrast, current so called environmental taxes deem some carbon dioxide production to be totally evil and to be extortionately highly taxed, and some carbon dioxide production to have almost no fiscal consequences at all. Bizarrely, the highly taxed activities (like cars) are difficult and economically damaging to do without, so the environmental taxes have almost no impact on behaviour, whereas lightly taxed carbon dioxide production associated with activities like budget flights and domestic heating could easily be cut back or eliminated completely with minimum economic impact. If we are serious about tackling climate change, or even if you don't accept that case, in tackling the rapidly running out fossil fuels and lack of security of supply of remaining reserves, we desperately need to overhaul environmental taxation.

    The decision as to how any money raised from carbon permits is given back to the taxpayers who are ultimately footing the bill for this new tax should be an entirely different question. Looks like you could meet the aims of the personal carbon account by just using the revenue to increase basic personal tax allowances..

  10. Liz Brown
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    What on earth benefit is giving me a carbon allowance going to do for the Globe – or me, apart from presumably cost me another small fortune in stealth taxes
    The Government is in the mire and all they come up with is crap like this…………..
    Incidentally has no-one told them that global warming is now officially on hold until 2015…………….

  11. Vincent Mc Dee
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! A return to ration book with coupons?, but without the book and the coupons?

    And two more years of this?

    God saves us all!!

  12. robbinghood
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Would you please go and sort out your ridiculous colleague, Yeo.
    This man brings back memories of all the stupid things that the last Conservative administration perpetrated.

    Your analysis is, of course, correct. Even Hillary Benn makes Yeo look pathetic by pointing out the running costs would be about 2billion and that is an underestimate if anything. And then it would be an impossible system to run in practice. Think Tax Credits meets ID Cards meets NHS/IR IT systems.

    If Yeo has any chance of entering government in a Conservative administration, then I shall certainly re-consider my allegiance. Why replace one bunch of numpties with another?

  13. David
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    John – you need to understand how close to breaking point we are in this country.

    We are sick of being spied on, snooped on, lectured, taxed and bullied.

    reply: I think I am the one MP who not only understands that but has been pointing it out for some time! Thanks for the support

  14. mikestallard
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    There are a number of points about climate change/global warming.
    1. If it is that serious, why do all the politicians from Al Gore downwards travel about the world in aeroplanes and then go by limo to their conference? Bad example is fatal when you are trying to prove something. It is like the Dad who said "Don't do as I do, do as I say."
    2. Global Warming/Climate Change may or may not be caused by mankind. It could, apparently, be sun spots. The Science simply is not there. What is scary is the way that politicians (not just here) have adopted this scare without proper thought. What is also ridiculous is the way that a lot of people have just adopted the idea without thought, like a herd of cattle.
    3. England produces a tiny share of the carbon output. This argument, usually casually brushed aside, seems to me to be the clincher.

    I am glad David Cameron went Green. It was a way of welcoming everyone back to Conservatism. The Labour Party is now rapidly becoming the Nasty Party.

  15. f0ul
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Yet again the elephant is in the room and no one is saying a word.

    For the vast majority of people, the best thing politicians could do is to test how much hot air it needs to kill a politician. Once we have the figures for all 600 odd in the house, we would need to test the elected and unelected members of councils and quangos to see how they measure up!

    In short, this is yet another scheme dreamt up by politicians and civil servants who are desperate to find a role to justify their employment by the state.

    The party which removes the whole concept of public sector from the UK economy will be doing more for personal freedom than any politician has ever done previously.

    They will also be reducing our 'carbon footprint' as we all know that the worst offenders in the world of waste are publiclly funded bodies who have no incentive beyond politically set targets to actually succeed at anything! However, ironically, they have been successful in maintaining a record of never succeeding!

  16. Travis Bickle
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    John, caveat emptor here. The first two paragraphs describe exactly why this shambles of a government might just press ahead with this nonsense.

  17. Dave, Wirral
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Everyone with more than two brain cells knows "global warming" is a scam to increase taxation and surveillance of citizens in order to restrict their mobility and personal freedoms from the ever growing orwellian police state.

    But on another note, do people not stop and think of the obsurdity of what is being proposed.

    For instance, the average human produces approximately 900 grammes of CO2 per day according to the 'United States Department for Agricultire'. That means for the average family of two adults and two children they produce 3.6kg of CO2 per day which adds up over a year to 1314kg per year from merely being alive and breathing.

    May sound like a lot, but compared to the aimed CO2 emissions of cars of 120g/km currently this equates to 10950km per year or in english 6850miles nearly, which is not far off the average usage of the car the said family of four would use. So is the governments going to impose the same amount of taxation as fuel duty/vat/excise duty on the said family as technically they are emitting the same amount of CO2 and all the taxes are nothing to do with money generation but are there top "save the planet" aren't they?

    If you thought the poll tax was a big mistake John then you haven't seen nothing yet when people are actually taxed for having the audacity to breathe.

    What are the government going to do when I and millions others tell them to stick the said tax where the sun don't shine as I shall continue to breathe and be alive in defiance ?

    That is a question I'd challenge any quango or government jobsworth to annswer !!!

  18. Posted May 26, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    The politicos in Nu-labour just don’t get it.

    Labour is taxing every part of modern life they seem to be wedded to tax.

    The actions of Nu-labours Polit Bureau commissars and apparatchiks show the lengths that they will go to deceive the UK public.

    Nu-labours Polit Bureau, commissars and apparatchiks are using the threat of gobal warming in a cynical attempt to control the UK populous. The Nu-labour Polit Bureau are using the threat of gobal warming to cynically create more draconian laws to centralise more power in the Nu-labour Polit Bureau, and create more new taxes.

  19. David
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Carbon rations are the latest form of communism. In soviet-style communism, the state controlled how much you earned. Carbon ration communism will control how much you spend and on what you can spend it.

  20. David
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    John where you said "…I think I am the one MP who not only understands that but has been pointing it out for some time! "…….in my comment I was referrring to the political class in general, not yourself.

    Apologies if I gave the wrong impression!

  21. Gwil ap Tomos
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I suppose the black market in the proposed rations can be handled by those who take organs from the poor. None of this will worry our so called leaders though, will it.

    Because no doubt there will be a clause in the Bill exempting all MP's and their families from this 'ration'

    Or they can claim it back at the expense of some poor people somewhere.

    Gwil ap Tomos

  22. robbinghood
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Ranger1640

    'Committee chairman Tim Yeo said it found that personal carbon trading had "real potential to engage the population in the fight against climate change and to achieve significant emissions reductions in a progressive way".'

    Yeo is a prominent Conservative. His views were effectively dismissed by Hillary Benn in cogent and straightforward manner.
    If Yeo is in anyway typical of the thinking of the Conservative leadership, and we shall find that out in the coming months, then I for one will not vote for a party capable of endorsing such hare-brained idiocy.

    I will keep on pointing out ad nauseam that the British are sick to death of the quite extraordinary influence that the Green lobby has on politicians in general and this cretinous government in particular.

    Don't take my word for it – look at actual poll results. In London, the Green Party received barely more votes than the BNP, and in C&N they polled less than 0.87pc, about 200 votes more than a former beauty queen.

    David Cameron has really got to get his act together on energy and distance himself from crazy policies such as those promulgated by Yeo. Even if you subscribe to the highly dubious theory of MMGW, it has to be accepted that the market is doing a much better job of cutting consumption (and therefore emissions) than rationing or dodgy carbon offset and trading schemes ever will.

  23. John
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    This idea is exactly what one would expect from this government. Completely stupid and unable to administrate. While my politics are not conservative, (nine miles to the right of Gengis Khan according to several friends) I would think even the shadow front bench could make mincemeat of this proposal.

  24. adam
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    we have had about100 years of non-stop destruction of our country and it is snowballing in recent years with the quickfire sale of our public sector to transnational corporations.
    People have lost respect for their politicians

    Yet the government keeps taking on more power attempting to dominate and control me more, they want all my data and cards to prove i am a citizen, (talking) cctv everywhere and
    now im going to be taxed for breathing.

  25. Posted May 26, 2008 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree – there are so many things wrong with this concept it's untrue. The main issue is that the proposal is so focused on small aspects of CO2 (heating, fuel) that it ignores large items which have huge CO2 involved in their manufacture or construction.

    Making a new car (even if it's a hybrid) absorbs a huge amount of energy. The concrete and brick in a new-build house are probably far worse generators of CO2 emissions than 20 years of heating it once built. Giving birth to a child has huge future impact on the environment. How do you include these things in a notional "personal allowance"?

    Then there are minor issues about gifts, whether family CO2 allowances would be pooled, are shareholders entitled to a fraction of their companies' allowances, and so on.

    I'm looking forward to inventing a whole slew of "Creative CO2 Accounting" practices…..

  26. APL
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    A number of folk have mentioned Orwell, …

    Now, Carbon Dioxide is actually a good thing. For a start, plants love the stuff and can barely get enough of it. I am reasonably reliably informed that if you happen to be a farmer and grow a lot of crop under glass, it pays to pump CO2 into the green house, because it promotes the growth of your crop.

    So, typically politicians have got it entirely the wrong way around, BLESS. They are trying to reduce carbon dioxide when the really clever thing – for world poverty, hunger and all, – the really beneficial thing would be to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, leading to increased food crop yield cheaper food and reduced world hunger.

    Since Tory type people know or should know, that incentives work better than penalties, and there is a good chance that more Carbon Dioxide would be a good thing, well its obvious isn't it? We need tax relief for big carbon producing vehicles, the road tax for a six litre Bently, the sort Gordon Brown or the minister for the environment runs around in, the road tax for one of those ought to be £15 per year.

    But sadly since the Tory party is bought and paid for by Zak Goldsmith the Enviro – mentalist, you will see people like Yeo popping up now and again to 'test the water'.

    "as the animals look from Napoleon to Pilkington, from man to pig and from pig back to man, they find that they are unable to tell the difference"

    We should all just knuckle down, and pay these extra taxes – come on people, you just can't have too much travertine, and granite costs an arm and a leg these days.

  27. Steven_L
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Not that I agree at all with such a scheme, but presuming we ended up with one what about this idea the Environmental Audit Committee put forward that it would not penalise the poor?

    For a start, the Daily Mail reported that those folk who use more than their allowance will be forced to buy 'top-ups', whilst those who have credit remaining – AT THE END OF THE YEAR – will be able to cash them in. This isn't a trading scheme at all then. It sounds more like a scheme one of my employers used to run for buying and selling holidays. You could buy and sell holidays for a couple of weeks at the start of every year at a set price, there was no 'trading' as such, no chance to buy or sell holiday entitlement at market derived prices throughout the year. There was no opportunity for enterprising employees to buy at a time of the year when prices were low and sell on the run up to silly season at silly rates. There was no mechanism for borrowing holidays from your colleagues and shorting annual leave. We were'nt 'trading' holidays, we were buying and selling them. Furthermore the company never said we were 'trading' them.

    If people are allocated a carbon allowance at the beginning of the year, have to buy extra credits from the administrator at a set price as and when they go over, and have to sell excess credits back to the administrator at a price determined by the administrator at the end of the year, then this isn't a 'market'.

    If it could possibly be called a market then it would be a not only a monopoly, it would be a monopoly controlled by the government, like VAT or income tax is. The wealthy will manage to pay this tax, yet poor folk in northern rural areas will suffer. Where I come from in Northumberland the average salary is well under the national average let alone that of the south-east. Up north people use more heating in the winter due to the colder weather and need to drive more miles to work and back due to not having the same public transport infrastructure. There lies another question, will Londoners pay carbon credits for getting on the bus?

    In the densly populated, warmer regions of the south – where public transport is often viable – they will pay less by necessity. In the colder, less renumerated and more rural north they will be forced to cough up this new 'carbon tax' in order to maintain their current standard of living. In both north and south the wealthy will cough up a little bit extra to pay for their expensive cars and holidays, possibly through their companies, possibly by laying off employees, perhaps reducing bonuses or maybe putting up the prices for their customers.

    This new carbon tax will not benefit the poor at all, nor can it be called 'trading'.

  28. Michael Taylor
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you could take Tim Yeo aside for a moment and slip him the relevant volume of Hayek. His willingness to contemplate a reintroduction of rationing is probably the most bizarre thing I've ever heard from an allegedly Conservative MP. Worse even than Heath's prices/incomes policies.
    I know that every generation has to learn the fundamental lessons anew, but he's 63 for godssake – how many opportunities has he now had and missed to learn?

  29. Posted May 27, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Problem: A smaller number of people are digging up buried carbon using a small number of different approaches and selling it to millions of people, via complex distibution network, who will – using a vast array of mechanisms – release the carbon into the air and cause fatal climate damage.

    Solution 1: Discourage each of the many millions of people doing any of the thousands of different things that release carbon into the air.

    Solution 2: Discourage digging up carbon.

    Take your pick.

  30. E.Justice
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    They must be taking the p..micky or they are all insane.

  31. Bartman
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Carbon credits and the associated eco-mentalist garbage is a recipe for shooting ourselves, and the western world, in both economic feet and the head at the same time.

    It amazes me that people are taken in by the tripe sprouted by Al "I Invented The Internet" Gore and his stable of sidekicks at the IPCC.

    Remind anyone of the Y2K computer fraud? Only difference was that Y2K had a d-day whereas this eco-mentalist stuff is an open ended cheque to financial infinity.

  32. Andrew Duffin
    Posted May 27, 2008 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Rob, unleaded petrol was a get-out for the catalyst manufacturers actually, largely Johnson-Matthey.

    Car makers did produce more efficient engines (they were called lean-burn), but the catalytic-ocnverter cheerleaders were more efficient in their lobbying of the EU, so their scheme won. And unleaded petrol was then required because we were forced to have catalytic converters, not as an alternative to them.

    The lead compounds poison the catalysts, you see.

    Cause, effect: hard to disentangle. But concentrate on that "cui bono" bit and you can get there usually.

  33. Adrian Peirson
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    John, what are they smoking ? Yet another product, conjured up out of thin air we can all waste time and effort trading.

    Rather like our debt based money system, the Stock exchange, the perceived wealth in houses.

    And now this, Carbon Credits !.

    Our Country and people need to build and trade in real products, you know, things like cars, ships, weapons if we must, electronics.
    food.

    Lord help us.

  34. Another Rob
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    It could work, if we were monitored 24 hours a day by telescreens and miscreants were vapourised. Hmm, careful, I might be giving the New Authoritarians an idea there…

    Two more years to go. If they are coming out with stuff like this, what will it be like as the election looms and they are still 20 points behind? I think it will be "scorched earth" – they will splurge the cash on their friends in the public sector, leaving the Conservatives with a crippled economy and massive debt to deal with. After five years of lying their heads off that it is all Cameron's fault, they win the election.

  35. Another Rob
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    The amount of fraud under a madcap scheme like this would be incredible. It would be impossible to police fairly, it would simply become a lottery whether you were caught or not. Would I get a rebate if I gave three people a lift, instead of driving alone? Would I get a rebate if I drove to the recycling centre to recycle cardboard, bottles etc, instead of just dumping them in the bin?

    It's a New Labour dream – a mindlessly complex, impossibly expensive bureaucratic nightmare. Please bring it in – they'll get five seats at the next election, tops.

  36. paul
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I think some sort of minimum IQ threshold for MPs is in order along with a psychiatric evaluation. Too many batshit insane idiots in power for my liking.

  37. Colin Hart
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    One can only hope that proposing something so preposterous was a clever way of flying a kite to make sure it would be shot down. Or am I being a naive optimist?

  38. simon lomax
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Let's not forget that there is no consensus in this idea that carbon drives climate change religion. recently 31000 [thirty one thousand]scientists,9000 of which are phd's, have released a petition in which they reject the man made global warming theory. a judge pointed out 9 major errors in al gores argument. The president of the czech republic has challenged al gore to a debate on the issue, has have others but al gore claims the debate is over. we're seeing skeptics being lives threatened, reporters careers are being threatened it's getting out of hand. aldous huxley said that the oligarche would attempt to control through a "scientific dictatorship" i think this man made global warming is it. Finally let's not forget that mars is now warmer by .05 since the seventies with melting evident in it's icecaps. jupiter and saturn are also experiencing climate change with a trend to warming!

  39. Adrian Peirson
    Posted June 1, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Disjointed Government,

    We are told we MUST reduce our Carbon Emmisions, yet the Govt wants to increase our Population from 65 Million to 100 Million, which will mean more congestion, more crime, more housing shortages, more landfill problems, food security problems.

    Where is the Logic, What sort of a country are these Insane Despots planning on leaving to our children.

    There are TOO MANY PEOPLE in this country.

    What about planting more trees,

    Fewer People, More trees, what is wrong with this.
    http://www.infowars.com/?p=2473

    The Global Elite want to cram the country with 100 Million People and simply farm us.

  40. Posted May 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Well okay, at the risk of going against the grain, I agree that the proposed implementation is kludgy, but that doesn't mean the idea is all bad.
    For example, what about implementing carbon credits in the building of homes? How many homes are built today with single-glazed windows instead of double-glazed?
    In certain cities in our country, planning codes are simply outdated and so builders are forced to build homes that are simply not energy efficient as they could be. A carbon tax implemented at the national level could do a lot to kick local planner in the rear end to simply update their housing codes.
    (Ducks head after suggesting carbon credits are not all bad)

  41. Posted November 19, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    We all have ability to write like this. The difference is how we use it. most of us are stuck in our shells and dont stick our necks out far enough to expose our thoughts like this. You're one of the brave enough to try and make a difference.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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