Cap and Share

Individuals, National and European Policymakers, Fossil Fuel Companies, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Financial Institutions, An Post

Accepting that climate change is a global problem and that there is a need to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, the philosophy of Cap and Share maintains that the earth’s atmosphere is a fundamental common resource.

It starts with deciding on a cap (a limit) on the amount of CO2 each country is allowed to produce. This involves all governments and the scientific community deciding on a safe level of carbon emissions.

Governments share out emissions permits to every citizen. Each person will have a permit of their share of the country’s cap. There will only be enough permits to correspond to the countries’ cap on emissions.

The fossil fuel companies (e.g. oil, coal, gas companies) will have to buy permits from the people. The fossil fuel companies will have to buy these permits to cover the emissions their oil, gas or coal will produce. The citizens sell their permits via post offices or banks. The emission per permit is reduced each year. People will get money to offset the higher energy prices. Anyone with a smaller carbon footprint will do better out of this arrangement. Lots of ordinary people will make a profit. Cap and Share makes the fossil fuel companies buy a diminishing supply of permits. Inspectors would strictly enforce the system.

Cap and Share has many advantages:
– Effective: Cap and Share caps emissions, rather than just setting targets.
– Fair: An equal share system is fair, like one person one vote.
– Positive: With Cap and Share we are not the problem, we are solving the problem together.
– Efficient: Cap and Share is cheap to set up and run, rewards energy efficiency and avoids windfall profits for big companies.
– Simple: Cap & Share is easy to live with – there are no swipe cards, no carbon accounting. It’s easy to understand – it’s clear that it solves the problem and that it doesn’t allow cheating.
– Popular: Cap and Share goes with the grain of human nature and values: it’s fair, positive, cheap to run, empowering, and rewards individuals.
– Flexible: Cap and Share is scalable, adaptable and can dovetail with existing policies.
– Practical: Cap and Share is both an effective, simple, down-to-earth policy, and a politically feasible one because of its psychology.
– Fast: It’s so simple and cheap, that it could be brought in next year. And we have an urgent problem here, since the whole world is needed on board and we have very little time.
– Win-win: A serious, practical solution is needed which faces up to the problem, on the scale required, in the timescale required. Cap and Share does this with additional benefits in terms of equity, the sense of a common purpose and the reconnection of the political process with grass roots concerns.
Contraction and Convergence, UK