Individual and collective trading of pollution credits

Individual and collective trading of pollution credits

Wild Card's progress: fully-fledged

This Wild Card came from: 
European Commission Framework Programme for RTD

The theme/scheme related to this Wild Card: 
Theme 8 - Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities

The sub-theme that best relates to this Wild Card: 
Socio-economic development trajectories

Likelihood timeframe and scenario features : 
now-2050

Wild Card's description 
Carbon footprint allowance (including tax) is allocated to individuals and business organisations. This policy results in the poor (and vulnerable) selling their allowance to businesses and those who are better off. Consequently, segregation based on carbon allowance quickly emerges in many areas, with regard to transport, housing location, and local renewable energy development. A group of brokers, agents form and the system of pollution credit trading becomes institutionalised. This event in itself is not seen as very wild, as it would not be rapid and sudden change, but rather a causal change. The wildness would manifest itself in the aftermath as increasing segregation between rich and poor. The poor, by selling their credits, would be even worse off and would be denied opportunities for social mobility as limitations would be put on their transport, businesses, etc. Another wild feature would possibly be complete geopolitical restructuring by pollution zones and increased polarisation of nations in terms of pollution. Poorer nations/regions would be tempted to sell their credits on to richer nations, which consequently could mean that polluting industries and jobs would be moved to richer nations. This could lead to consequent tension between nation states, or even regions within the same state. The system of trading which would be established would also demonstrate the complete privatisation of the handling of public goods. This would need to be preceded by the development of sophisticated enough data to capture for universal carbon credit cards and associated permission from European populations.