Geoffrey Lean writes an excellent piece in today’s Independent about our carbon emissions.  

He talks about individual carbon-footprints and the eventual possibility of the implementation of a personal emissions allowance.  

It’s a really good article and he’s mostly spot on in my view but I still question the ethics of carbon-trading whether it’s on an individual, corporate or national level.

Lean mentions Secretary of State David Milliband’s recent and controversial suggestion…

“that each person should be given a steadily reducing carbon allowance. Those who want to exceed this permitted footprint, such as by driving more or flying frequently, would have to buy permits from those who live more modestly”.

This suggests, as does the article, that by trading emissions, the poor will become wealthier by selling off some of their unused allowances.  Sounds socially compassionate but then as the poor become financially better off because of their emissions sales, won’t they then be in a position to afford some luxury emissions for themselves and just buy carbon credits thus increase their carbon footprint, hence – a reduction in reductions.

Carbon-trading does seem to make logical economic sense but does it make any moral sense that richer nations, companies and people can simply buy their way out of their emissions reduction obligations?  Buy the right to pollute more?  Neglect their full responsibilities to take care of our planet just because they can afford to?  It certainly removes the incentive to try and change wasteful life-styles.

And the fact that carbon-emissions can be turned into a market commodity doesn’t sit well with me.  Will we see carbon-emissions traded on the stock exchange? 

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just economically ignorant and maybe I’m looking at it too simplistically and missing something but I feel that we all share an equal obligation to reduce our carbon-footprint cooperatively;  it shouldn’t be left to the poorer among us.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by corona on December 6, 2006 at 6:11 am

    dude i love dis article…truly inspiring ….inspired my final paper too…thx alot man…got an A+ rite more shit like tis


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