top of page

Rationing to Fix Climate Change Recommended by British Scientists

Scientists advise British Government to impose rationing of petrol, household energy and meat to combat global warming.

'Researchers' from Leeds University have concluded that rationing would help countries to cut their carbon emissions “rapidly and fairly” even though it was often seen as an 'unpalatable' option.

Making a comparison with the need to limit the consumption of certain goods as they grew scarce during the war, researchers noted that the idea of achieving this by increasing taxes was rejected in the 1940s because “the impact of tax rises would be slow and inequitable”. Their study, published in the journal Ethics, Policy & Environment, noted: “Rationing has been neglected as a climate change mitigation policy option.” It added that rationing was widely accepted in Britain during the second world war.

The scientists state:

'Policymakers have considered other schemes to reduce emissions, including carbon taxes and personal carbon trading schemes, but the researchers say these favour the wealthy, who could buy the right to pollute if trading were allowed.'

The authors argue that carbon rationing would instead allow people to receive an equitable portion of resources based on their needs, therefore sharing out the effort to protect the planet.

"There is a limit to how much we can emit if we are to reduce the catastrophic impacts of climate change. In this sense, the scarcity is very real."

The authors were based across the University of Leeds’ Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre, Sustainability Research Institute and School of History when they conducted the research.

"The concept of rationing could help, not only in the mitigation of climate change, but also in reference to a variety of other social and political issues – such as the current energy crisis."

The academics identified two options for rationing policy. Policymakers could introduce an all-encompassing carbon allowance, giving out ‘carbon cards’ like bank cards to track and limit usage. Alternatively, governments could ration specifically selected goods, such as flights, petrol, household energy, or even meat or clothing.

Dr Lawlor said: “Many have proposed carbon allowances and carbon cards before. What is new (or old, taking inspiration from World War II) is the idea that the allowances should not be tradable. Another feature of World War II-style rationing is that price controls on rationed goods would prevent prices from rising with increased demand, benefiting those with the least money.”

According to the researchers, it’s likely that rationing would accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy and more sustainable lifestyles. Dr Wood said: “For example, rationing petrol could encourage greater use of, and investment in, low carbon public transport, such as railways and local trams.”

Another conspiracy theory takes one step closer to reality.



bottom of page