Cap and Share
Cap and Share seeks to provide a simple, workable and ethical economic framework for dealing with the climate crisis. It is based on the belief that every human being has a right to an equal share of the fees that fossil fuel users would be prepared to pay for the right to discharge greenhouse gases into the global atmosphere.
Under C&S, global emissions would be capped at their current level and then brought down rapidly year by year. Each year, the tonnage of emissions that the world community decided that it could risk releasing over the following twelve months would be shared equally amongst the Earth's entire adult population. Each of us would actually receive a "fossil fuel pollution authorisation permit" (PAP) conveying the right to our individual share of that year's global emissions and making us responsible for it.
The important thing to note about these permits is that they would not ration our personal energy use. Instead, they would permit fossil fuel production. They would be valid for a year, during which people would sell them to financial intermediaries such as banks and post offices, who, in turn, would sell them on to oil, coal and gas producers. These producers would need to acquire enough permits to cover the carbon dioxide emissions from every tonne of fossil fuel they sold and international inspectors would check to ensure they did.
Cap and Share is clearly equitable and, arguably, fairer than any other practical method of sharing out rights to emit around the world. It would also be robust because, as the tonnage of emissions being distributed was reduced year by year, the market value of each person's permit allocation would increase, ensuring that poorer people received an income from the sale of their permits which enabled them to buy food and fuel as these became increasingly expensive. Since the reductions required in fossil fuel use to avert a climate catastrophe are so rapid and deep, adopting some other greenhouse gas control system that failed to protect the poor would cause serious injustice and provoke massive opposition. C&S provides an orderly way of managing the transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources with the market setting the price at which the right to emit is sold.