People are watching helplessly while wildfires, floods and the pandemic wreak havoc on society, yet they are not empowered to shift the course of events. Personal climate allowances would apply a market-based approach, providing personal incentives and options that link their actions with global carbon reduction goals. — Francesco Fuso Nerini, Associate Professor at KTH and director of the university's Climate Action Centre
People are watching helplessly while wildfires, floods and the pandemic wreak havoc on society, yet they are not empowered to shift the course of events. Personal climate allowances would apply a market-based approach, providing personal incentives and options that link their actions with global carbon reduction goals. — Francesco Fuso Nerini, Associate Professor at KTH and director of the university's Climate Action Centre
Pandemic and digitalization set stage for revival of a cast-off idea: Personal carbon allowances
Researchers say the time may be right for many industrialized nations to resurrect an idea once thought to be unfeasible: personal carbon allowances (PCAs). The concept, they report, has stronger possibilities due to a worsening climate crisis, changes in personal behavior due to the COVID-19 crisis and advances in artificial intelligence and information and communications technologies.

Current climate policy mostly address emissions targeting large-scale carbon emitters, such as power plants and industrial activities. But the new research targets the gap between public policy and individual behavior.

"People are watching helplessly while wildfires, floods and the pandemic wreak havoc on society, yet they are not empowered to shift the course of events," says lead author Francesco Fuso Nerini, Associate Professor at KTH and director of the university's Climate Action Centre. "Personal climate allowances would apply a market-based approach, providing personal incentives and options that link their actions with global carbon reduction goals."


... PCAs provide individuals with clear framework for contributing effectively, says co-author Paul Ekins, resources and environment policy professor at UCL. "People are desperate to do something … but too often they get trivial advice, such as pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher," Ekins says. "A personal carbon allowance system would tell them what they could do to make a real difference, in a context where they knew other people would also be making their contribution.

"Look no further for a radical, effective suggestion for how individuals can make their lifestyles more climate-friendly."

Co-author Tina Fawcett, Acting Leader of the Energy Programme, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, says the PCAs embody fairness and transparency, offering people meaningful choices. "It doesn't take away the need for some difficult decisions, but it does ensure these add up to effective society-wide action to reduce our climate risk," she says.

Once assumed to be too costly and unworkable, PCAs could now be implemented with less difficulty, thanks to advances in ICT and AI. However, the researchers state that PCAs must be designed in a way that will not negatively impact poor and vulnerable populations, and should consider how its components align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, among others.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/08/210816112041.htm