A group of academics from the University of Leeds has conducted a study exploring the possibility of implementing a rationing system for specific commodities, such as fuel and meat, to “mitigat[e]” so-called climate change.
The researchers suggest that a rationing scheme could be a fairer alternative to other proposed solutions, including individual carbon allowances and carbon taxes, as it would prevent wealthier individuals from using their financial resources to bypass restrictions.
“Rationing aimed to distribute both goods and burdens (more) equally, regardless of wealth,” the study authors write. “And this was a key part of its popularity.”
The authors argue that rationing could also have broader applications.
Dr. Nathan Wood, one of the lead authors of the report, commented elsewhere that 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 researchers propose that a rationing system could help address issues of what they refer to as “energy poverty.”
They emphasize that their paper “is primarily based on philosophical and ethical argument and policy analysis” instead of rigorous empirical data.