The Government is being warned it may need to introduce “carbon-rationing” to cut pollution from everyday activities, such as filling up the car with petrol.
A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has said that personal quotas for emissions may be needed if current policies fail to cut greenhouse gases.
These proposed “credits” would be used to buy gas and electricity for powering homes, fuel for cars and plane tickets for holidays.
The quotas would shrink over time in order to reduce carbon emissions.
The five-year carbon budgets were brought in as part of attempts to meet legally-binding targets to cut emissions by at least 24 per cent by 2020, and at least 80 per cent by 2050 across the UK economy as a whole.
German Climate Adviser – we are over our limit already
In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the German government’s climate protection adviser, argues that drastic measures must be taken in order to prevent a catastrophe. He is proposing the creation of a CO2 budget for every person on the planet, regardless whether they live in Berlin or Beijing.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Schellnhuber, the goal that is to be set at the climate summit in Copenhagen in December for global warming is to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. How can this goal be reached?
Schellnhuber: Humankind has to limit itself to emit only fixed amount of carbon into the atmosphere until 2050. The German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) has conducted an audit to determine which countries should be allowed to emit how much carbon dioxide in order to remain within the two degree limit. The findings are sobering.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why?
Schellnhuber: Because the industrialized nations have already exceeded their quotas if you take into account past emissions. To have a two-in-three chance of reaching that target, we can only emit 750 billion tons between now and 2050. For a three-in-four chance, we can only emit 660 billion tons. If you divide these emissions per person and compare them with the current output you see that Germany, the US and other industrialized nations have either already used up their permissible quota, or will do so within the next few years.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Seven-hundred-fifty billion tons sounds like a lot though.
Schellnhuber: It isn’t really. It means that each person on earth would only be able to produce about 110 tons of CO2 between 2010 and 2050. An average German emits about 11 tons per year, meaning that his “budget” would be used up within 10 years. The total permissible quantity of CO2 is incredibly low
Why should a German be allowed to emit more CO2 into the atmosphere than someone from Bangladesh? No, we must divide the quota equally and fairly among all nations.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you think that Chancellor Angela Merkel will support your proposal?
Schellnhuber: What we came up with is actually nothing but a summary of what Merkel has said in the past. She’s a proponent of the two-degree goal, the emissions trade and the equal right to emissions quotas for everyone. We have simply put it into a comprehensive plan. The fact that Germany’s emissions quotas will be exhausted in 10 years if they don’t change their habits can only mean one thing: The next government must adopt a new and drastic climate package immediately.