By David Derbyshire
Every adult should be forced to use a 'carbon ration card' when they pay for petrol, airline tickets or household energy, MPs say.
The influential Environmental Audit Committee says a personal carbon trading scheme is the best and fairest way of cutting Britain's CO2 emissions without penalising the poor.
Under the scheme, everyone would be given an annual carbon allowance to use when buying oil, gas, electricity and flights.
Anyone who exceeds their entitlement would have to buy top-up credits from individuals who haven't used up their allowance. The amount paid would be driven by market forces and the deal done through a specialist company.
MPs, led by Tory Tim Yeo, say the scheme could be more effective at cutting greenhouse gas emissions than green taxes.
But critics say the idea is costly, bureaucratic, intrusive and unworkable.
The Government says it supports the scheme in principle, but warns it is 'ahead of its time'.
The idea of personal carbon trading is increasingly being promoted by environmentalists. In theory it could be used to cover all purchases - from petrol to food.
For the scheme to work, the Government would need to give out 45million carbon cards - each one linked to a personal carbon account. Every year, the account would be credited with a notional amount of CO2 in kilograms.
Every time someone makes a purchase of petrol, energy or airline tickets, they would use up credits. A return flight from London to Rome would, for instance, use up 900kg of CO2 credits, while 10 litres of petrol would use up 23kg.
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