The carbon individual retirement account (C-IRA) - monetize carbon footprint reductions by converting the avoided carbon into funds deposited into a retirement account or other long-term financial obligation:
Motivating people to take ownership in reducing their personal carbon footprint takes more than high energy prices. It takes a permanent, or life-long reward but with delayed gratification. The C-IRA solves two societal problems simultaneously: The anemic retirement savings rate (worse for young people paying off student debt) and lack of personal responsbility for reducing individual carbon footprint. Plus, it instills new low or no-carbon lifelong behavior changes, like commuting by bicycle or foot (if practical, with health benefits to boot) or low or no beef/meat diet. The C-IRA is the most innnovative approach to carbon reduction out there, and this comes from someone who has spent his career in the energy/electricity sector. All the steps necesssary to implement C-IRA - tracking and verifying carbon reduction, converting carbon into money, and managing retirement accounts - are already developed, they just have to be combined into this unique solution. C-IRA is a version of "nudge" economics, perhaps better described as a "shove," a la Richard Thaler at UChicago. With quick implementation, this could be the fastest to get carbon reduction aligned with the dire timelines of the most recent IPCC reports.