Individual carbon "credit cards"?

Neasa MacErlean in the Guardian reports that 18 months ago Labour MP Colin Challen presented a proposal to the Parliament for the introduction of individual carbon cards. According to the proposal, each UK citizen would be given an equal amount of carbon credits per year. Every time a person would purchase a good or service, he would be charged an amount of carbon credits related to greenhouse gases associated to that good or service. If all the credits were used up before the end of the year, no purchase of, let’s say, fuels or plane tickets would be possible unless the needed carbon credits are bought from other carbon credits holders.
In short a system quite similar in principle to emission trading. In fact, I wonder would such a system be needed if and when emission trading of greenhouse gases is extended to those sectors not yet included. In other words do we need to regulate both the demand and the supply side? Another question related to administrative and monitoring costs such a system would imply. I suppose they would be huge. Finally, which purchases of goods and services would be included? Greenhouse gases emissions are linked to the production to all services and goods in various degrees. Thus implementation of the system would require a huge amount of data if extended to all goods and services. If not, it may lead to substitution effects, whose possible impact should be evaluated.


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