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Personal carbon trading: A critical survey

  • Starkey, Richard
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    In recent years, there has been considerable discussion within UK climate policy circles regarding the appropriateness of personal carbon trading as an instrument for greenhouse gas emission reduction. This paper is the first in a two-part survey of personal carbon trading (PCT), the term used here to describe proposed (sub-)national greenhouse gas emission trading schemes under which at least some emissions rights are allocated to and surrendered by individuals. After introducing the various proposed PCT schemes, the paper compares, in terms of equity, the two most-discussed PCT schemes with two alternative emission trading schemes and a carbon tax. The papers' two key findings are as follows. First, there are strong arguments that the equal per capita allocation proposed under some instruments is not completely fair. Second, the five instruments compared can be equivalent in terms of their equity. Along with equity, efficiency and effectiveness make up three key criteria for comparing environmental policy instruments. As PCT has no advantage in terms of equity, the paper concludes that any case for PCT will depend on it having advantages in terms of efficiency and/or effectiveness. Whether PCT has such advantages is explored in Part 2.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800911003983
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 73 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 7-18

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:73:y:2012:i:c:p:7-18
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.09.022
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Fawcett, Tina, 2010. "Personal carbon trading: A policy ahead of its time?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6868-6876, November.
    3. Niemeier, Debbie A. & Gould, Gregory & Karner, Alex & Hixson, Mark & Bachmann, Brooke & Okma, Carrie & Lang, Ziv & Heres Del Valle, David, 2008. "Rethinking Downstream Regulation: California's Opportunity to Engage Households in Reducing Greenhouse Gases," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt2ct0n1xv, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    4. Robert Ayres, 1997. "Environmental market failures: Are there any local market-based corrective mechanisms for global problems?," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 289-309, September.
    5. Cameron Hepburn, 2006. "Regulation by Prices, Quantities, or Both: A Review of Instrument Choice," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 226-247, Summer.
    6. Wadud, Zia, 2011. "Personal tradable carbon permits for road transport: Why, why not and who wins?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1052-1065.
    7. Charles Raux, 2010. "The potential for CO2 emissions trading in transport: the case of personal vehicles and freight," Post-Print halshs-00566195, HAL.
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