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Different quota mechanisms

In a workshop in Spain, Vilanova i la Geltrú near Barcelona, held from 1-3 March 2013, different proposals for quota mechanisms were discussed. For the Dutch Footprint Group, Quintijn Hoogenboom participated in this workshop. The workshop was organised by Ecologistas en Acción, together with other ngo's in the EU.

See a short report about this workshop, and read more about the Resource Cap Coalition at

Four proposals:

  • The RCC Proposal (of the Resource Cap Coalition) was the central proposal, taking energy content (expressed in MJoule) as basis for its quota. The goal is, of course, to cap (limit) the use of non-renewable energy on a consumer level by giving each person an equal share.
  • Close to this proposal stands the proposal of the Spanish group Ecologistas en Acción.
  • The British TEQs proposal was not represented in the workshop, but is included in the discussion below.
  • The Dutch Footprint Group was working a bit isolated from above groups on a quota system based on Ecological Footprint (the subject of this website).

Environmental backpacks and import/export

Two aspects of a quota system were not covered well enough in previous discussions. In this workshop attempts were made to tackle these:

  • embedded energy in products. How much energy is embedded in a product and can this embedded energy also be included in a quota system? This embedded energy was also referred to as environmental backpacks.
  • imports and exports. How can energy that is imported (or exported) and even embedded energy in imported and exported products been allowed for.

If these subjects could be covered, a quota system could really cap (limit) the energy used by our society (community,region, country, EU).

CO2 or footprint

The Dutch Footprint Group would favour generalizing a quota system from non-renewable energy to all land use as accounted for in the Ecological Footprint Model. The CO2 (waste when fossil fuels are burnt) takes more than half of our ecological footprint, so is automatically included in a quota system that is based on the footprint model.

But... the mechanism for embedded energy and for imports/exports can equally apply to both systems.

Comparison of the systems

As a follow up Quintijn started a document in which the common goals and starting points as well as the differences of the 3 (or 4) different quota systems are described. Comments and discussions are of course welcome.