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Energy Research Topics: Personal Carbon Trading

The LCF team, as part of its work within the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), is investigating personal carbon trading (PCT), a proposed quantity-based policy instrument for reducing the carbon emissions by individuals.

A PCT would operate as a "cap and trade" scheme, whereby a cap is set on personal carbon emissions. The carbon rights are allocated for free to individuals in the form of an allowance. Individuals are then required to surrender carbon units from their allowance when purchasing fossil-based fuel for home energy use or personal transport. Individuals have the ability to buy additional carbon units if needed or sell carbon units if they have a surplus. Read more on PCTs.


  • Mechanisms for achieving demand reduction through Personal Carbon Trading (PCT)

    ECI hypothesises that PCT could deliver energy demand reduction through tying together three basic mechanisms: economic, psychological and social. A number of research questions are being examined with this model in mind.

  • Carbon Rationing Action Groups: insights for policy design

    As part of ECI's work on Personal Carbon Allowances Rachel Howell is researching Carbon Rationing Action Groups (CRAGs) in order to determine whether they have anything useful to tell us about the potential design of a PCT policy.

  • iMeasure

    an easy-to-use online tool for accurately measuring and monitoring home energy use and carbon emissions over time.

  • UK Energy Research Centre - Demand Reduction
    Oct 04 - Apr 09

    Addressing the challenge of how to reduce our energy demands. We will consider the introduction of new technologies and ways of influencing consumer behaviour whilst covering concerns about distribution and affordability.

  • Scoping study of a personal carbon trading pilot scheme
    Dec 06 - Sep 07

    The project is examining what would be involved in implementing a PCT pilot scheme. The project is funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and UKERC.

More Personal Carbon Trading projects

Documents & Media

Reports and Working Papers


Conference papers

Print, Radio & TV


  • Fawcett T., Hvelplund, F., Meyer, N.I. 2010 Making it personal: per capita carbon allowances, in Sioshansi, F. (Ed) Generating electricity in a carbon-constrained world. Elsevier pp87-107
  • Hillman, M., Fawcett, T., and Rajan, S.C. 2007 The suicidal planet: How to prevent global climate catastrophe. Thomas Dunne Books, St Martin’s Press. New York.

Submissions to government

Selected presentations

  • Personal Carbon Allowances: economical, social and psychological mechanisms for delivering carbon emissions reduction. Behaviour Energy and Climate Change (BECC), Sacramento, California.
    16-19 Nov 2008. Parag, Yael
  • Cross Policy Learning: Drawing Lessons for Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) Policy from Food Labelling Schemes. Thirteen Annual Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Research Conference: The Next Decade - What Are the Big Policy Challenges? Los Angeles, CA.
    6-8 Nov 2008. Parag, Yael
  • Personal Carbon Trading, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies [PDF: 160KB]
    Catherine Bottrill, 21st September 2006

More Personal Carbon Trading publications