Personal Carbon Trading and fuel price increases in the transport sector: an exploratory study of public response in the UK
journal contributionposted on 2011-06-10, 09:00 authored by Helen Harwatt, Miles R. Tight, Abigail Bristow, Astrid Guhnemann
Large reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are required in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Road transport is a significant contributor to UK CO2 emissions, with the majority arising from personal road transport. This paper analyses Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) as a potentially powerful climate change policy tool and presents findings from an exploratory survey of public opinion. A working model of a PCT scheme with a fixed carbon cap was designed to achieve a 60% reduction of CO2 emissions from personal road transport by 2050. A proportion of the annual carbon budget would be given to individuals as a free carbon permit allocation. There is an opportunity to sell unused permits. Fuel price increases (FPI) were recognised as having the potential to achieve an identical emissions target at a much lower cost. A series of individual interviews were conducted to explore opinions related to the impacts, effectiveness, fairness and acceptability of both measures. Bespoke software was used to record behavioural response. The findings indicate that certain design aspects of the PCT scheme led to it being preferred to the FPI and suggest that the potential behavioural response to PCT may be greater than for a FPI. However, given that the sample was small and biased towards the highly educated and those with above average incomes, the findings should be considered as preliminary indications. Further detailed research is required.
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