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Under the scheme, everyone would be given an annual carbon allowance to use when buying oil, gas, electricity and flights.Filling up: Motorists would need a carbon card at the pumps Anyone who exceeds their entitlement would have to buy top-up credits from individuals who haven't used up their allowance.It would need to take into account the size of families, and their ages. Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayers' Alliance said the cards would be hugely unpopular.'The Government has shown itself incapable of managing any huge, complex IT system.' he said.But critics say the idea is costly, bureaucratic, intrusive and unworkable.The Government says it supports the scheme in principle, but warns it is 'ahead of its time'.For the scheme to work, the Government would need to give out 45million carbon cards - each one linked to a personal carbon account.

There are a lot of practical problems to overcome.' A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report into the scheme found it would cost between £700million and £2billion to set up and up to another £2billion a year to run.

Every time someone paid for road fuel, flights or energy, their carbon account would be docked.

A litre of petrol would use up 2.3kg in carbon, while every 1.3 miles of airline flight would use another 1kg.

The scheme would penalise those living in the countryside who were dependent on their cars, as well as the elderly or housebound who need to heat their homes in the day.

Large families would suffer, as would those working at nights when little public transport is available.

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