May 8, 2008 / 3:04 PM / 12 years ago

Britain puts personal carbon trading plan on ice

A large vehicle drives past a symbol for the Congestion Charge in London November 14, 2006. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government has shelved plans to get people to reduce their carbon footprint by allowing them to trade personal emissions permits because it would be too expensive and ambitious.

After studying ways of encouraging individuals to cut their CO2 emissions so they could sell their excess permits to those who exceed their carbon quota, the environment ministry has concluded it is not yet practical.

“Personal carbon trading has potential to engage individuals in taking action to combat climate change, but is essentially ahead of its time and expected costs for implementation are high,” the ministry said Thursday.

The idea for personal CO2 trading is taken from the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which forces big industrial emitters of the gas that causes global warming to clean up their act or buy permits from companies that have.

The ETS makes being green profitable and polluting more costly for business but does nothing to encourage more than 60 million people living in Britain to do anything about it, despite being responsible for a large chunk of Britain’s total emissions.

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