Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Carbon Credits - The Worst Idea Ever

The Environmental Audit Committee's recent suggestion that we can all improve our carbon footprint by having our own carbon credit limit is one of the most idiotic suggestions I have ever heard.

I'm not a climate change sceptic - I think the planet is facing problems and I think there are some simple steps we can all take. I now recycle when I can, remember (sometimes) to take used plastic bags shopping with me. I put on a jumper when I'm cold rather than turning up the heater, I walk to the train station most days rather than drive, when a large group of us flew to Kenya we decided to offset our carbon emissions - not by giving money to a profit making organisation but by donating to a local wildlife charity. Everything I have done however has been my own choice. And it might not be enough to save the planet but it is my choice and my attempt to make things a little better.

I object strongly to a group of MPs telling me that I should have a limit on how much carbon I use - but if I want to I can sell it to the rich for a cash bonus. Have they really thought this through? I'm ok now, public transport from my home to my office is good but it hasn't always been - how does the committee suggest that people who have to drive to work cope? Refuse to go on holiday so they can make sure they have enough credits to work? What about people who have to attend hospital to visit sick relatives - or get treatment themselves? Will there be a bonus credit for the ill? How about international aid charities who send assistance to disaster zones such as those in Burma and China - will they have to limit their ability to do so? Or will they have to use some of their precious finances to buy additional credits?

And how about travelling MPs? Who will pay for (for example) Tim Yeo's credits.

From November 2006 - November 2007 Mr Yeo - the man whose committee came up with this plan - had a busy time. He visited California, Cuba (trip paid for by a mining and energy company), Lebanon & Syria, Washington DC and Bucharest. And this doesn't include his family holiday - I hope he had one.

And he did a lot of driving - in 2006/07 he claimed £5,226 in mileage - roughly 13,000 miles or the equivalent of driving 156 times from Westminster to his constituency office. This environmental champion by comparison claimed only £636 in rail fares.

I'm not questioning the honesty of the expenses or the necessity of the trips abroad. What I do have a problem with is a man with a carbon footprint which I'm sure is considerably higher than mine having the audacity to tell me that I have to limit my output just so that I can sell him the credits he so desperately needs.

1 comment:

Ellee Seymour said...

That's a good point about travelling MPs. It will be the taxpayer who pays, of course.