At a time of increasing calls for energy sobriety, the Mobile Lives Forum proposes to reflect on real solutions that are both fair and effective, to collectively reduce our emissions and implement a new mobility system that is less dependent on fossil fuels. Carbon rationing, which initially seems radical but is become increasingly topical, is worth examining in this respect. Inspired by the pioneering initiative in Lahti, Finland, a team of students in the Energy MA program (Paris Cité University) is examining the possibility of conducting a local experiment in carbon rationing for travel.
The Mobile Lives Forum is exploring the idea of using carbon rationing as an alternative to a carbon tax. Taxation is criticized as being unfair, as it weighs more heavily on the poorest households, while also being inefficient as it has little effect on the lifestyles of the richest, even though they are the biggest emitters of CO2. Rationing would have at least two advantages over taxation: setting a national cap on CO2 emissions and giving each French person the right to emit the same amount of CO2, regardless of their financial situation.
In 2020-2021, a team of six students in the Energy MA program, supervised by engineer and transport historian Arnaud Passalacqua, worked on a proposed plan to implement a nationwide carbon rationing scheme. This work allowed us to answer three initial questions: does such a rationing system seem possible, fair and desirable, within the limits of certain pre-designated parameters? The Mobile Lives Forum also documented an experiment conducted in the Finish town of Lahti, where a carbon trading scheme was set up, providing each resident with a carbon budget for travel, which they managed via a mobile app. For 2021-2022, the Forum engaged a new multidisciplinary team of 8 students (engineers, political scientists,...) within the Energy MA degree to design a local carbon rationing experiment, to be applied to individual trips taken by volunteer participants within a given territory in France.
The Mobile Lives Forum has drawn up 5 major recommendations based on the exploratory work carried out by the student group:
This exploratory work confirms the value of testing a voluntary and collective carbon rationing scheme for travel at the local scale. From an operational standpoint, caution must be taken with regards to the costs linked to developing a digital app, given the relatively small number of users. To stick to a budget of approximately 200,000 euros, priority must be given to active support for participants who are changing their habits. It is worth remembering that the experiment in Lahti cost 1 million euros. The next stage of this project will be to reach out to local authorities and/or associations that are interested in implementing an experiment in their territory, on the basis of a pre-operational document (costs, schedule, time and skills, selected methods…).
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France’s National Low-Carbon Strategy: Can it work without slowing down?, Aurélien Bigo, June 2020
Mathilde Szuba, Une carte carbone plutôt qu’une taxe carbone ? [A carbon card rather than a carbon tax?], Socialter, June 2019
Faire sa part ? Pouvoir et responsabilités des individus, des entreprises et de l’Etat face à l’urgence climatique [Doing your part? The power and responsibilities of individuals, companies and the State in the face of the climate emergency], Carbone 4, June 2019
Delphine Batho et François Ruffin veulent instaurer un quota de kilomètres en avion par personne et par an, Capital, [Delphine Batho and François Ruffin want to introduce a yearly quota of plane kilometers per person], July 2017
Szuba Mathilde, Semal Luc, “Rationnement volontaire contre ‘abondance dévastatrice’ : l'exemple des crags”, [Voluntary rationing against ‘devastating abundance’: the example of crags], Sociologies pratiques, 2010/1 (no. 20)
Mobilization is the action by which individuals are called upon to gather in the public space for a concerted effort, be it to express or defend a common cause or to participate in an event. In this respect, it is a social phenomenon appertaining to mobility. This article has been written by Sylvie Landriève, Dominic Villeneuve, Vincent Kaufmann and Christophe Gay.En savoir plus x
For the Mobile Lives Forum, mobility is understood as the process of how individuals travel across distances in order to deploy through time and space the activities that make up their lifestyles. These travel practices are embedded in socio-technical systems, produced by transport and communication industries and techniques, and by normative discourses on these practices, with considerable social, environmental and spatial impacts.En savoir plus x
To cite this publication :
Arnaud Passalacqua et Master Energie Université de Paris (01 February 2022), « Towards a local experiment in travel-based carbon rationing », Préparer la transition mobilitaire. Consulté le 27 March 2023, URL: https://forumviesmobiles.org/en/project/15436/towards-local-experiment-travel-based-carbon-rationing
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