A closer look at voluntary carbon action

Cutting carbon now occupies a prominent place in discussions about ethical living and corporate responsibility. In this document we explore how the popular metaphor of “carbon footprints” can lead us astray by emphasising personal action at the expense of public action and by importing politically contentious ideas about how global carbon resources should be apportioned. We also explore how a failure to account for the implications of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has led commentators to make misleading recommendations about the value of renewable tariffs or reduced electricity consumption in combating climate change. As electricity emissions are controlled under the ETS, these measures do not reduce the overall amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere unless a corresponding quantity of ETS carbon permits are bought and destroyed.


Posted on

April 4, 2010