ABERYSTWYTH University researcher Martin Burgess is advocating that Wales takes the lead when it comes Personal Carbon Accounts.

Martin Burgess gave a lecture to Assembly Members and support staff outlining how Personal Carbon Accounts could work.

He has also written an article in ‘The Conversation’.

Mr Burgess commented: “A recent call from MPs to put a 25p levy on disposable coffee cups, and bans on plastic products cropping up across the country, show that the UK is getting serious about tackling collective individual behaviour which threatens the environment.

“Large-scale programmes aimed at changing people’s behaviour are rare – but they do happen. Take Britain’s various carrier bag charges, for example, which led to plastic bag use in England falling by 80% in just one year. But while these initiatives are definitely needed, we need to look at other, broader, solutions too. That’s why, in October 2017, the Welsh Assembly supported a feasibility study to look at piloting an environmental behavioural policy across Wales: personal carbon accounts.”

Mid and West AM Plaid Cymru’s  Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said:

“As a society we have set ourselves the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% on 1990 figures by 2050 and limiting global temperature rise to around 2%. Thankfully, we are becoming far more aware and willing to think about our responsibilities to protect our environment and help secure a cleaner future. However, there is still progress to be made in transforming the warm words into action by Government be it in Cardiff Bay or in London.

“I have called on the Welsh Government to commission further research into the feasibility of a Personal Carbon Accounts scheme in Wales.

“Under the proposal, each of us have our own personal carbon use in the way we live our daily lives, the way we drive and the way we have an impact on the environment. A personal carbon account is a form of personal carbon trading, which means that it is transferred to you like of bank account or a credit card. The Government makes allowance for everyone’s personal carbon use. Each time you use carbon, whether that’s in terms of particularly carbon-intensive goods you might buy, or your use of fuel, your use of heating, you are debited that from your account. The idea is to make people think about their carbon use.

“In this regard, I think it goes hand in hand with some other wider changes that we’re already seeing such as smart metering.

“It is clear that many people do recognise the impact of climate change but find it difficult to see how they fit into the objective, and what positive changes we can all make to help achieve it. Personal Carbon Allowances could be the nudge that we need to enlighten us on the specific means of that adjustment.”

Martin Burgess is due to meet Welsh Government officials later this year following a successful National Assembly debate on Personal Carbon Accounts last October led by Simon Thomas.

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