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Replace the many environmental policies with a large carbon tax

Comment 6th July 2010

The government has created a tangle of laws, quangos and initiatives to encourage the reduction of carbon emissions. 

Most of these policies are at best pointless and at worst harmful to the environment

Perversly there are also many susidies for groups of people to use cheap energy.

Often it is impossible to tell whether a particular initiative is increasing carbon use or decreasing it, e.g. flying is always suggested as a very fuel expensive way to travel when compared with trains but when these statistics are calculated the vast carbon cost of building and maintaining the railways infrastructure is ignored. Rail could be cheaper but we don't know. Trying to calculate the best way to reduce carbon has proved to be almost impossible.

I suggest that there should be a very large VAT charge on carbon producing activites balanced by an equally large reduction in direct taxes, e.g. NI and the sweeping away of all the laws, initiative, quangos etc aimed at reducing carbon emissions and of the carbon subsidies. 

We should try to avoid exceptions for things like agriculture, airlines, homes or old people but I accept that this may not be possible  and we must protect the vulnerable. A tonne of carbon dioxide is a tonne of carbon dioxide whoever creates it.

In my vision the  economy would be rebalanced towards carbon neutral activites and the pricing signals would quickly identify and discourage carbon use. 

 

 

Why does this matter?

The scientific evidence suggests that the atmosphere is warming due to the generation of CO2 by man's activities.

There is some argument about whether the scientists are right or not. Personally I believe there is a 90% chance that they are right but lets say that I am too pessimistic and there is only a 25% change that they are right.

If the globe does warm by just 3 degrees we can expect very bad consequences under some scenarios millions maybe billions of people would die. I am saying we shouldn't be taking this risk even if there is only a 25% chance of it happening. To put it into the context of a normal everyday activity I personally wouldn't get on an aeroplace if I thought there was a 25% chance of a crash.


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