The Citizen Carbon Budget

To reach “Net Zero” by 2050, we need some radical and disruptive interventions.

The Citizen Carbon Budget (CCB) idea is simple: every person has a carbon budget that they can spend each month. Every consumer decision that has a carbon footprint has an impact on their budget. For example, the carbon footprint of travel will be impacted by the mode of transport and distance travelled. The footprint of consumables such as food and clothes will be impacted by the type of product, origin, manufacturing processes, `food miles’ and so on.

The vision of the CCB involves autonomous system technologies at two different levels:

  • the automation of individuals’ carbon footprint from different digital sources via a ‘smart’ infrastructure in which personal computational agents collect data on individuals’ behalf. We explore views on this speculative infrastructure through Design Fiction, as building such an infrastructure would take years.
  • the actual prototype of the “Carbon Budget Wallet” (CBW) app will implement AI-driven personalised recommendations as incentives for people to reduce their carbon footprint.

Overall the aim is to investigate the technical feasibility, regulatory concerns, trustworthiness and connected public acceptability of such a system.

This project will build on the CBW – an app designed and implemented by students at the University of Nottingham – which users use to report their carbon-consuming activities and provides a comparison to users’ own history as well an anonymously to other users on the platform.

This TAS Hub project is led by the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the King’s Business School, University of Southampton, York St John University, the Policy Institute at King’s College London and runs for the period of 1 year commencing in September 2022.