12 Reasons why Universal Carbon Credits can be Effective in Fighting Climate Change

One way to reduce CO2 emissions and halt climate change is for everybody to have a carbon budget and resolve to keep to it. The Universal Carbon Credits framework outlined here sets that up – it depends on a Universal Basic Income paid in carbon credits. As people spend their budget, the UCCs flow into the economy, in fact they supply the whole economy with the UCCs acting as a parallel currency to cash, a second monetary system based on dual transactions for all goods and services – cash and carbon.[1]For the complete explanation of the framework, see

This framework would be a significant logistical challenge to put in place, but all other measures proposed and taken so far pay a price for their convenience: there is a significant risk that they just won’t be effective. Universal Carbon Credits though promises to bring a set of unparalleled advantages when compared to other climate policies.

  1. Everybody plays their part because the mechanism is per-capita based. The super-rich, the corporate executives, the politicians and the royalty would receive the same fair share of UCCs as everyone else.
  2. It introduces personal carbon trading, which allows individual citizens freedom of choice where they make their carbon savings, and it promotes carbon literacy.
  3. Exactly how much CO2 in total was emitted in the manufacture and supply of a product or service will be on the label. It must be the responsibility of the vendor to calculate, based on the UCCs they need to spend. The carbon price will increment up the supply chain, starting with the oil, gas or coal producer and ending with the end consumer. So the carbon price is an in-built artefact of the UCC framework, it updates as fast as the vendor can change the price label, and results in a dynamic, responsive, empirical carbon price on everything.
  4. Nobody will ever have to calculate the carbon footprint of what they buy again – not even businesses – because it will be the duty and in the interests of the vendor to put the correct carbon price label on the products or services they sell (see previous point).
  5. It directly pushes business to find the lowest carbon options and catalyses innovation and disruption in their sectors.
  6. It provides a Universal Basic Income, an economic fiscal policy with major advantages to employment and welfare.
  7. Its effects are most likely to be faster, cheaper and more efficient than any government carbon taxes, emissions trading scheme or pricing policy because it will include traditionally excluded sectors like aviation, shipping, inbuilt or imported emissions, public services and so on.
  8. It pays for carbon drawdown (CO2 drawdown or negative emissions, or the carbon market or carbon removal which are all the same thing) e.g. tree planting, reforestation, CO2 sequestration by natural means or mechanical, by providing UCCs as the payment, neatly circumventing the argument of who would have to pay for the CO2 removal. The cost of the payments would be borne equally by all participants.
  9. The carbon drawdown payments facility establishes a central point of governance, bringing uniformity for financing carbon drawdown projects, improving and regulating the currently contentious carbon offsetting industry.
  10. The planned emissions reductions will occur reliably. The UCCs allocated by the government would directly specify the amount of fossil fuels extracted from the ground by the oil, gas and coal industry, due to the UCCs flowing through the supply chain to the origin of the emissions, providing a guarantee of the amount of emissions reduction taking place, unlike carbon taxes or emissions trading schemes.
  11. UCCs are denominated in tonnes, kilos and grammes of CO2, setting a standard, facilitating integration of the framework with industry, and easing trade across borders.
  12. Surveys in industrialised countries show that the public finds Universal Basic Income, Personal Carbon Trading and quota-based systems to be acceptable approaches, and are likely to support the policy combination, especially if the introduction is well managed and only the most profligate carbon emitters were impacted at the start.
  13. Bonus point: the framework can cover methane and other greenhouse gases via licenses priced in UCCs, e.g. a diary farmer must purchase a license for each head of cattle out of the farm’s UCC budget, to cover the methane the cow emits.

More about Universal Carbon Credits

© Ernest Zacharevic,

On this page “Universal Carbon Credits as a Carbon Currency” you can find the outline of the whole proposal with references to relevant articles and websites.

Panama Canal with Ship in Rainforest Shutterstock

This page “Carbon Rationing Explained” has further information in a Q&A basis.

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This concept stems originally from a combination of several sources:

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1 For the complete explanation of the framework, see

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