All UK citizens could be given an annual carbon allowance stored as points on an electronic swipe card as part of a new scheme to tackle climate change.

Unveiled this week by Environment Secretary David Miliband, the plan would see points deducted for every purchase of non-renewable energy, such as petrol, air travel, gas and electricity. Those who go over their quota would then have to buy additional points, while those will with points to spare could sell them back to a central bank.

The government is said to be keen to run a pilot scheme to test the idea.