Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Have you run out of energy?

20.09.2004


Imagine having your own annual greenhouse gas allowance which you ’spend’ each time you fill up with petrol or pay an electric or gas bill. It sounds like a scene from a futuristic movie, but this scenario could really happen in the next few years according to researchers at the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Prediction.

Dr Kevin Anderson and Richard Starkey are investigating a system of personal trading for carbon emissions. Instead of people being forced to pay a carbon ’tax’, much as we have to pay income tax and council tax, we would each hold an allowance from which units would be deducted. Welcome to life under Domestic Tradable Quotas, or DTQs.

With DTQs, every adult in the UK would have an equal number of units and would be able to choose how they spend those units. If they are high users they would be able to buy any available surplus units from low users.



Said Dr Anderson, "This system is about people being able to make choices. And allocating emissions units on a ’per capita’ basis is surely fairer than doing so simply on the basis of what people can afford to pay. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Duke or a dustman - you all have the same allocation."

David Fleming, an independent researcher, originally came up with the idea of DTQs and is working closely with the Tyndall Centre on the project. He said, " Some years ago I was looking into the problems of transport and congestion, and I thought about how imposing a carbon tax could be hard for poor people to bear. I reflected that if the economy of the future was affected by climate change * or by drastic action to mitigate it * or by fuel shortages, the number of poor people could rise sharply. It occurred to me that a system of rationing could be the answer." "When I was a child, in the years after the war, I didn’t like sweets and sold my sweet rations to other children. I suppose, in a sense, I’ve been thinking about DTQs all my life," he added.

Climate change is increasingly recognised as a serious threat and the world’s governments are committed to doing something to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere. The UK Government’s Energy White Paper sets the target of 60% reduction of emissions by 2050. So how will DTQs measure up as a mechanism for emissions reduction?

The standard test for a proposed environmental policy measure is to assess it against the three ’Es’ : equity - is it fair?; effectiveness - will it achieve its target?; and efficiency - will it do so cost-effectively? If every person in the country had a personal allocation of ’carbon units’, and every organisation or business had an allocation, we would all be working towards meeting national energy targets.

The idea is being seriously considered - it has already had a hearing during a ten-minute rule bill at the House of Commons. A second reading in the House is scheduled for next month.

Dr Anderson said " DTQs are a viable alternative to carbon taxes. As people make their choices the system will help drive the market to lower carbon approaches. We’ve all seen how protests can bring the country to a halt if the price of petrol increases by just a few pence. DTQs could nurture much needed public support -it’s all about giving people choices."

Marion O’Sullivan | NERC press office
Further information:
http://www.nerc.ac.uk
http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/whatsnew/DTQs.pdf

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht How protons move through a fuel cell
22.06.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht Fraunhofer IZFP acquires lucrative EU project for increasing nuclear power plant safety
21.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>