Those of "green persuasion", aka enviromentalists, seem convinced that oil and gas will run out and that the only remaining provision of power will be from renewable sources to which they couple the idea that our planet is in danger from climate change and that we are being 'flooded' with unsustainable levels of carbon dioxide. Those of "socialist persuasion", aka the left, seem convinced that the panacea to all our problems is equality, that each should have no more than their neighbour and thereby also believing in wealth redistribution, that everything society accesses must be regulated.*
This is probably why those Members of Parliament that form the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil (APPGOPO), a group that comprises 8 Liberal Democrats, 9 Labour and two Conservative; plus one Green in the shape of Caroline Lucas, who also happens to be Vice-Chair; can come up with a policy idea such as Transferable Energy Quotas (TEQ's), pronounced tex - which sounds remarkably like tax if you are very, very "posh" - but I digress.......
APPGOPO published a report in January 2011, one that seems to have escaped the attention, to any great detail, of the people even if it did receive some media coverage - at least there does not seem to have been any public outcry. In effect, what is being proposed is the Marxists nirvana - the total abolition of "property". In line with the "Green" agenda of saving the world and the "Socialist" idea of wealth distribution, the activities of your daily life would be 'regulated' in accordance with set allowances. In other words, no matter how wealthy you are you only have access to your ration allocated by the government. The idea is being promoted by the left-wing New Economics Foundation and its Ration Me Up Campaign. Every activity in your life such as running a bath, buying socks, etc. has a carbon ration which is deducted from your monthly allowance. The policy framework on TEQs by the APPGOPO can be read here; and the media coverage and launch event read here.
In summary, the way in which TEQs would work is:
1. TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas) is an electronic energy rationing system designed to be implemented at the national scale; 2. There are two reasons why such a scheme may be needed: Climate change: to guarantee achieving national carbon reduction targets. Energy supply: to maintain a fair distribution of fuel and electricity; during shortages; 3. TEQs (pronounced “tex”) are measured in units; 4. Every adult is given an equal free Entitlement of TEQs units each week. Other energy users (Government, industry etc.) bid for their units at a weekly Tender, or auction. 5. If you use less than your Entitlement of units, you can sell your surplus. If you need more, you can buy them. All trading takes place at a single national price, which will rise and fall in line with demand. Buying and selling would be as easy as topping up an Oyster card or mobile phone; 6. All fuels (and electricity) carry a “carbon rating” in units; one unit represents one kilogram of carbon dioxide – or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases – released in the fuel’s production and use; 7. When you buy energy, such as petrol for your car or electricity for your household, units corresponding to the amount of energy you have bought are deducted from your TEQs account, in addition to your money payment. TEQs transactions are generally automatic, using credit-card or (more usually) direct-debit technology. 8. The total number of units available in the country is set out in the TEQs Budget. The size of the Budget goes down year-by-year – step-by-step, like a staircase; 9. The Budget is set by the Committee on Climate Change, which is independent of the Government. The Government is itself bound by the TEQs scheme; its role is to support the country in thriving on the available carbon/energy; 10. Since the national TEQs price is determined by national demand, it is transparently in everyone’s interest to help each other to reduce their energy demand, and to work together, encouraging a national sense of common purpose.
Some of the statements in the APPGOPO report are quite "interesting" in that they only promote yet more questions. For example:
"TEQs rationing does not set an upper limit for individuals’ energy use, but it does protect essential and fair access to energy for all."
if no upper limit is set then those wealthier will be able to purchase increased energy use which hardly complies with the stated aim of fair access to energy for all.
"If energy scarcity were to develop before tried and tested rationing systems were in place, profound hardship would follow."
and rationing will not impose hardship on the elderly and vulnerable - who will have great difficulty in understanding the 'workings' of such a scheme? In any event, why would there be an energy scarcity when nuclear power is available?
"A central condition of success is that the Carbon Budget should be pitched at a level which is seen to be just, and towards which participants have a sense of ownership."
sure enough we get the introduction of one of the basic tenets of communism and communitarianism.
"It follows that any TEQs scheme must include all energy-users."
which resurrects the previous point about the elderly and vulnerable
"TEQs is self-monitoring, requiring no enforcement costs apart from routine auditing."
which begats yet another quango and the required bureaucrats, snooping into your private life.
"The science is clear that the decisions made in the next few years will determine the future of our planet’s climate for millennia to come."
unfortunately, the science is not "clear" as it has not been proven - and on an unproven theory, as a nation, we are to bankrupt ourselves - £18billion a year, every year until 2040?
"With current policies the proportion of UK energy from renewables will reach only 6% by 2020."
which besides illustrating what an unattainable policy this is, the threat hangs over us of yet more fines being imposed by the EU.
"The reality is that the amount of energy we need is governed in part by the amount of energy we have."
untrue - nuclear energy?
As an aside, it appears that the government, in the shape of DEFRA, can do a cost/benefit analysis on the subject of the price of carbon (page 44 of the APPGOPO report) but the government cannot do a similar analysis on the cost of EU membership - enough, almost, to make us Eurosceptics 'green' with envy at the 'mentalists good fortune!
Not even George Orwell's fertile imagination and prescience foresaw this and suddenly the Climate Change Act 2008 suddenly starts to look not so benign. One also wonders whether, when Van Rompuy was talking about the need to establish one European Energy Market, the idea of TEQs was on the agenda - it would after all tick both the "Green" and "Socialist" boxes for the EU!
It may well be that this subject has been covered by the specialist sites like Watts Up With That, or Bishop Hill, however on the basis that I missed any mention of the APPGOPO report and that I am probably not alone, I decided to publish this post.
It is important to fully understand what is proposed, therefore please do read the links and the reports therein.
* A topic discussed to great effect by Chris Snowden in his book "The Spirit Level Delusion", published by Democracy Institute.
Afterthought: If we are discussing conservation of energy, then how about this idea/development. Ok, tad old now as news, it having surfaced about 2004 I believe, but surely the "technology" is worth further research before we get 'scammed' out of our money?