Jan 27, 2011
IN a post here a couple of days ago, I noted that Green MP Caroline Lucas was calling for a war-time mentality in the UK, as during WWII “people put up with so much disruption and deprivation because they knew there was no alternative”.
Now Bloomberg reports that lawmakers in the UK are rapidly moving ahead with schemes to impose a radical regime of carbon rationing within the next ten years:
Fuel rationing may be needed by 2020 in the U.K. to meet the government’s carbon emission targets, a panel of lawmakers said, suggesting an electronic trading system for energy quotas.
Under the system, called Tradable Energy Quotas, or TEQs, energy credits would be distributed free to every adult, who could then buy and sell surplus units, the London-based research groupThe Lean Economy Connection  said today in a report commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil . The multi-party panel of lawmakers looks at the impacts of declining fossil-fuel production.
Under the regime envisaged by lawmakers, every individual would have their own Tradable Energy Quota (TEQ) which would be linked to their personal bank account to help track their energy use and Co2 emissions:
John Hemming, chair of the parliamentary panel, said a payment system could involve a credit card with two numbers — one linked to the customer’s bank account and another to their energy TEQs account. The system would help level out price changes, because the value of TEQs would decline as energy prices rise, said Chamberlin.
The aim of the plan is to force people to cut back on their energy use, by issuing them with fewer energy credits than they actually need, thus making them either use less energy or buy more credits, as the Press Association reports:
The amount every adult received would be equal but not necessarily enough to meet their needs – forcing people to directly think about their energy use.
Press Association. Quotas ‘Would Tackle fuel Poverty’ 
Green MP Caroline Lucas said that this had always been a goal of the Green Party, as it gave people a “direct connection to their carbon emissions”. However, whilst welcoming moves to force carbon rationing on the UK, she said that the reduction targets were not strict enough:
“We need to put in place mechanisms that will guarantee we can meet and in fact exceed them,” she said, referring to a goal enshrined in U.K. law to slash emissions by 34 percent by 2020. She says it should be higher.
The Financial Times reveals that only 40% of an individual’s allowance will be given to them free, with the rest being “auctioned off”. As the FT sees it, the idea behind the scheme is obvious – to drastically raise the price of energy and fuel by means of a carbon tax:
The primary objection is obvious: this leaves the (presently cash-strapped) consumer paying lots more for the energy they use – not only in terms of the power they consume at home, but also in terms of the extra cost of everything they buy. After all, manufacturers are hardly likely to absorb all the extra costs themselves.
Those who support the proposal say it would cost less than the inevitable price spike that will come our way when we hit peak oil — better to ration our energy use now than have it forcibly rationed by a lack of oil.
Financial Times. British Lawmakers Propose energy Rationing. 
I think the s**t would hit the fan over this proposal if they tried to actually make it law. Remember the poll tax?
For more on the lead-up to the carbon-rationing regime see:
Daily Mail: Every Adult Should Be Forced to Use a ‘Carbon Ration Card’ 
The Times: Staff in Carbon Footprint Trial Face £100 Fine For High Emissions .
Politics.co.uk: Carbon Rationing ‘By 2012′. 
The Telegraph: Milliband Backs Idea of Carbon Rationing For All. 
New Statesman: Why We Must Ration the Future (2006)  – a ‘must read’.