About 30 people turned up and squeezed into a room kindly donated by The Bell Inn, Charlbury. I gave a brief presentation to introduce carbon rationing and CRAGs and then we moved the chairs back and introduced ourselves. The group included at least two low-carbon professionals, a barrister, six web developers, several academics, parents, commuters, home-workers, businesspeople and an intern. Some knew their footprints, others feared what theirs might be; most hadn’t flown for a few years, some described their love miles apologetically.
Following the introductions, the discussions started with an attempt to agree on a fixed annual target, but this quickly became a wider debate about fixed versus proportional targets, whether or not a percentage reduction model could be compatible with trading, and whether or not we should attempt trading at all. Others were concerned that a system which included penalties would send negative signals to potentially sympathetic people in the wider communities, proposing an alternative incentive-only model (there wasn’t time for a full analysis of the economic sustainability of this approach…). It was a frank, friendly and strongly-worded debate, but it was clear that we weren’t going to reach a consensus on the financial details after two hours. Jamie Andrews and Tim Lunel proposed an experimental period during which we all monitor our carbon emissions, with the possible outcome of agreeing a fixed target which would be proportionate to the group’s average output. Everyone agreed, so this is what 25 of us are going to do, starting from February 1st, using the Carbon Account, with follow-up meetings scheduled in six and twelve weeks time. For those that continue, with whatever reward/penalty model is agreed, February 1st will the be start of our accounting year.