Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Stern Report slapped down

Ruth Lee attacks 'green taxes'.

In an article in today's Daily Telegraph, Ruth Lee, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, reiterates some of the points I made in this post, that David Miliband's demands for extra fiscal revenue might be seen as just that - extra revenue.

The point surely should be that we move taxation away from some areas in order to regulate our carbon emissions, i.e. a shift in taxation not an increase in taxation. Ruth additionally makes the point that some nations (India and China presumably) are unlikely to take a jot of notice of Britain's lead and will continue to emit more carbons than the rest of us could ever offset. The world's fastest growing economies are also it's worst polluters!


Daily Telegraph

Whilst I'm not convinced of the efficacy of the proposed 'green taxes' mooted, it should be pointed out that Ruth Lea and her organisation is famously skeptical on dealing with climate change. She argues for the status quo.

The argument is that it's pointless doing anything unless China and India do the same. This is an amoral position, considering that each UK citizen produces four times more CO2 than an Indian citizen and three times that of a Chinese citizen. Both China and India recognise they have a problem with emissions, particularly since those countries will be the first to face the impacts of climate change, and they are willing to become involved in CO2 reduction initiatives. Blaming China and India that their appetite for economic growth make our emission reduction efforts futile is hypocrisy hiding behind economists' faux hysteria.

Until we can show that we are serious about cutting our emissions we are in no position to preach restraint to poorer countries, particularly when most of our nation's riches have come about as a result of the carbon economy.
Whilst there is merit in your argument about taking the moral high ground, irrespective of those nations who will fail to live up to expectations, or fail to implement carbon reduction measures, you miss my point about green taxes. I argue that there should be a CHANGE in how we are taxed, and that 'green' taxes should not be seen as an opportunity to tax us further just for the sake of raising revenue.
I agree with you Curly about 'green' taxes. Without a framework of policies to reduce emissions alongside taxation designed change behaviour and fund emissions reduction initiatives, 'green' taxes will be next to useless, and will give the public the false impression that something is 'being done' and possibly reduce confidence in other initiatives.

Giving another funding stream to Gordon Brown to buy the next election or blow on the replacement for Trident is definitely not what I had in mind.
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