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British Co Fines Workers For Emissions

This is story that appeared last week in the UK’s Times almost slipped by us:

Staff in carbon footprint trial face £100 [$164] fines for high emissions

Ben Webster, Environment Editor
September 14, 2009

People who emit more than their fair share of carbon emissions are having their pay docked in a trial that could lead to rationing being reintroduced via the workplace after an absence of half a century.

Britain’s first employee carbon rationing scheme is about to be extended, after the trial demonstrated the effectiveness of fining people for exceeding their personal emissions target. Unlike the energy-saving schemes adopted by thousands of companies, the rationing scheme monitors employees’ personal emissions, including home energy bills, petrol purchases and holiday flights.

Workers who take a long-haul flight are likely to be fined for exceeding their annual ration unless they take drastic action in other areas, such as switching off the central heating or cutting out almost all car journeys. Employees are required to submit quarterly reports detailing their consumption. They are also set a target, which reduces each year, for the amount of carbon they can emit.

Those who exceed their ration pay a fine for every kilogram they emit over the limit. The money is deducted from their pay and the level of the fine is printed on payslips. Those who consume less than their ration are rewarded at the same rate per kilogram.

The maximum that an employee can earn or be fined has been capped at £100 [$164], but is likely to rise once staff have grown accustomed to the idea.

WSP, the global engineering consultancy, has been conducting the rationing scheme among 80 of its British employees for almost two years. In the first year the overall carbon footprint of participants fell by 10 per cent. The company is discussing its scheme with several FTSE 100 companies.

Three quarters of the employees were rewarded and a quarter, including Stuart McLachlan, the managing director, were fined. Mr McLachlan tried to cut his carbon footprint by buying a bike and cycling 12 miles to work from Richmond, Surrey, to Chancery Lane, in Central London. He also installed energy-saving lightbulbs, but he still exceeded his ration — and was fined £100 — because he flew to his holiday home in South Africa.

The idea of personal quotas for carbon emissions is being advocated by the thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research. Everyone would be given a number of free “credits”, to buy gas and electricity for their homes, fuel for cars and plane tickets for holidays. Those who did not use all their credits could sell the excess to people who used more fossil fuels.

WSP is planning to expand its rationing scheme next year to cover 3,000 employees in offices around the world. However, it will set different targets for each country to reflect national average emissions. In Britain the target this year is 5.5 tonnes, which is one tonne above the national average for home energy and personal transport. The US target is likely to be double the British target, to reflect much greater emissions per person.

David Symons, co-ordinator of the scheme, said that US employees would be unlikely to join a scheme with the same ration as British staff. “The teams in the States would think they would be in debit straightaway.” …

It’s preposterous, is it not. Just some kooky company.

It could never become the norm.

But how many things that are reality today were thought preposterous just a few short years ago?

(Thanks to Niko for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “British Co Fines Workers For Emissions”

  1. Yarddog1

    When, oh when, will rational, hard working producers grow a set of balls and say “enough is enough”? The entire world seems to be going through a period of complete and utter insanity and lunacy. People of all countries have abandoned any sense of self preservation and allowed the brainless special interests to usurp any semblance of rational thinking. Tolerance of diverse thinking is one thing – allowing complete idiots to ruin one’s life is quite another.

  2. beautyofreason

    It’s going to get to the point where looser restrictions and freer capitalist markets in less developed countries drive investors and businesses out of first world countries with excessive regulation and taxation.

    Nobody wants big brother – except big brother.

    “WSP is planning to expand its rationing scheme next year to cover 3,000 employees in offices around the world.”

    We are helping you make the right decisions for you. Since premarital sex and showing too much skin are bad, we are going to send morality police to fine, beat, or execute people of the opposite sex found alone in a room together or improperly dressed (Iran). Or to charge families with dead relatives in the election crisis a “bullet fee” to release the bodies to them (Iran). Since waste is bad, we are going to restrict the size of rubbish bins that a single family can fill up, and extort money from those who go over (Britain). Since carbon is bad, we are going to raise money by taxing the excessively flatulent, etc, etc.

    This kind of thinking is totalitarian, as it puts government in charge for making individual decisions of the people, in the name of helping them, and is perhaps a common link between leftist environmentalism and fundamentalist Islam. *You* can’t make the decision for yourself, so we are going to do it for you. The individual is not moral, the state is the ultimate morality and individuals are merely armatures for the directives of inspired bureaucrats. For the sake of the people. And the accumulation of funds.

  3. proreason

    Somebody else (maybe several) have reprised this old Khruschev quote recently:

    “We Will Defeat You Without Firing A Shot”

    At this point in time, it looks like he was right.

  4. Rusty Shackleford

    Yarddog 1 said: “When, oh when, will rational, hard working producers grow a set of balls and say “enough is enough”? The entire world seems to be going through a period of complete and utter insanity and lunacy. People of all countries have abandoned any sense of self preservation and allowed the brainless special interests to usurp any semblance of rational thinking. Tolerance of diverse thinking is one thing – allowing complete idiots to ruin one’s life is quite another”

    —-I blame television.

  5. Reality Bytes

    Call it the “Fart” Tax. The great profit Melman Brooks predicted this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6dm9rN6oTs

  6. ONail

    This is “Cap n’ Tax”, folks. The next item after ocare that our statist-in-chief and his dem congress have on their agenda of hopey/changey things to ram up our butts. Bend over. It’s coming.

  7. BillK

    Britain was also the home of the idea of the Carbon Credit card, where your CO2 emissions of your home and vehicle would be debited from your card and you would not be able to purchase fuel or heat or cool your home until you purchased more “credits.”

    Further, any travel by air would also be debited, so you would have to choose between heating your home, driving to travel, or taking a plane.

    Except of course for folks like U2, who I’m sure would get some type of humanitarian “pass” for their efforts.

    Really, are these schemes or Muslim extremists the bigger threat to the UK?

    Somehow I don’t think your average martyr bomber is concerned about their “carbon footprint.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Martyr bombers, so I’m led to understand, use “Earth-friendly” explosives that only kill infidels while releasing limited amounts of greenhouse gasses. This, I suspect, is why the lunatic-fringe lefties don’t complain too loudly. If they did, the heaven-bound-bombers might take up a more carbon-rich type of bomb, which would be bad.

  8. Sanddog

    Why would any private company willingly board this insanity train and why would any employee agree to go along on the ride?

    I believe in paying my employees the best wage possible for the work they provide. What they do with that money isn’t my concern. I’m not their parents. They are adults and if they weren’t capable of managing their own lives, they wouldn’t be working for me in the first place.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      “Why would any private company willingly board this insanity train and why would any employee agree to go along on the ride?”

      Companies, on the one had, get on board with the socialist dogma to stay in business.

      Employees, on the other hand, ride the “guilt express” and either they go along to get along, or, actually do feel compelled that they are “saving the planet” by ‘appropriately’ allocating their money. Do you not see this comrade Sanddog?

  9. Petronius

    “Mr McLachlan tried to cut his carbon footprint by buying a bike and cycling 12 miles to work from Richmond, Surrey, to Chancery Lane, in Central London.”

    Richmond is smack dab on the District line near Kew Gardens. By transferring to the Piccadilly line at Earl’s Court, it is a straight shot to the Holborn Street station in Chancery Lane.

    Thus, by using the London Underground, McLachlan’s commute can be accomplished in about 30 minutes at the nominal cost of a couple of pounds per day round trip. Instead he spends £350 on a bike which he rides 12 miles each way, rain or shine, through London’s heavy rush hour traffic.

    Madness. Madness.

    • proreason

      Plus he exhales a lot more carbon than he would riding the tube.

      One more rider on the tube would increase the tube’s carbon creation by about 1 of his breaths, if that.

      But logic and common sense have nothing to do with it.

      He feels good about sacrificing himself to demonstrate his solidarity with the liars who have conned him into worshipping them.


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