Personal Carbon Trading and Carbon Tax: Exploring Behavioural Response in Personal Transport and Domestic Energy Use

Personal Carbon Trading and Carbon Tax: Exploring Behavioural Response in Personal Transport and Domestic Energy Use


A Zanni, A Bristow, Loughborough University UK; M Wardman, ITS University of Leeds, UK


Exploratory research addressing both transport and domestic energy emissions in terms of behavioural response to personal carbon trading or a carbon tax


A key difficulty in survey design is ensuring that individuals are aware of the impacts to them of such a scheme and that the financial incentives they face are reflect their carbon emissions. The first stage in the survey is therefore a ?carbon calculator? exercise based on the DEFRA Act on CO2 software. This enables an estimate to be made of overall CO2 emissions for each respondent. Respondents were also asked which of a list of carbon reducing behaviours: were not applicable to them (eg reducing car use for non-car users), they were already doing, they would consider, or they would not consider.

Those emitting above an individual allowance of 4 tonnes CO2 were informed that they would have to pay to purchase permits or through a carbon tax in order to carry on with current behaviour. Those below this level were informed that they could sell spare permits or receive a tax credit if they carried on with current behaviour.

Respondents were then faced with a specific price level under a permit or a tax scheme and asked to choose whether they wanted to continue with their current behaviour and pay to purchase additional permits / through tax (or to sell permits / receive tax credit) or adopt certain behavioural changes in order to decrease their carbon footprint and, consequently decrease the amount they have to pay (or increase the amount they gain). They were then asked if their behaviour would be any different under the alternative scheme.

The set of CO2 saving transport behaviours included reductions in: car mileage, fuel consumption of the vehicle and number of flights per year. For domestic energy: reduction in heating temperature, the use of appliances in a more efficient way as well as the installation of energy saving products (wall and loft insulation, double glazing, solar panels, wind turbine etc.). Respondents were given detailed information on the potential of each measure as well as likely initial cost outlay and payoff periods and annual cost savings. Additional questions were asked in order to asses how respondents intended to reduce car mileage and fuel consumption.

The questionnaire also contained a contingent valuation question assessing the maximum (minimum) amount respondents would be willing to pay (accept) to continue with their current behaviour.

After piloting the initial implementation of the survey was at a Citizen Forum Event with 80 participants held in Cardiff in January 2008. The nature of the event imposed some constraints on the survey which will be refined prior to implementation in the form of a computer based survey of 200 respondents that will take place in May 2008.

This work is highly exploratory and should provide useful insights into:

?Perceived ability to make carbon savings in transport and domestic energy and barriers to doing so
?Preferences for saving in domestic energy v transport
?Whether there are differences in response according to whether it is a tax or a PCT scheme
?Any differences in response by person type or situation


Association for European Transport