Monday, 27 July 2015

Climate change: carbon tax >>> "the polluter pays"

Perhaps the issue around climate change is not simply 'the climate':
Futures Forum: Climate change: appealing to values and identity >>> From 'worthy but dull' to re-framing the debate >>> It's about: pollution >>> inter-generational debt >>> conserving the local landscape

What should the UK's approach be?
Futures Forum: Climate change: the Treasury 'quantifies the costs but ignores the key benefits of climate change policies and concludes that environmental policies damage the economy'
Futures Forum: Budgeting for resilience?
Futures Forum: "Green growth is a worthwhile goal" - comment on climate change and sustainability from the FT

One approach has been the 'Energy Companies Obligation':
Futures Forum: Green levies and the cost of energy... the Energy Companies Obligation, the warm homes discount scheme and the Green Deal
Futures Forum: Energy firms receive £1bn for green measures before they are carried out: the Energy Company Obligation

Otherwise known as the 'carbon tax':
Futures Forum: From the 'fossil-fuel age' to an international carbon tax

But this might be about to change:
Osborne’s chance to make sense of muddled UK climate taxes - FT.com
Green cuts risk sending UK back to the dark ages | Environment | The Guardian

This is the latest comment from the New Economics Foundation:
New Economics Foundation
Stephen DevlinGreen taxes have been under attack on all fronts lately. 
Chancellor George Osborne's Summer Budget announced a review of energy efficiency levies and an effective reduction in renewables subsidies. Air passenger duty has long been the victim of sustained industry attacks, and the SNP’s pre-election pledge to scrap the tax once it has the power to do so looks like the first step in a race to the bottom. Elsewhere, the German government was forced to weaken plans for additional levies on coal
And yet, there’s a broad consensus that environmental taxes are, in principle, a good idea. Various analyses proclaim their virtues: it’s right that the “polluter pays”; we should “tax bads not goods”; we’ll secure a “double dividend” of less pollution and more revenue - the list goes on. So what’s the problem here?
Essentially, taxes affect people in ways that economic theory just doesn’t account for. There are two key lessons for implementing green taxes:
1. Taxation is a moral statement. So let’s be careful about who we’re blaming.
Who is the polluter? Is it the coal plant or the energy consumer?
Taxes have a financial impact but also assign blame and guilt. Do we allocate blame in exact proportion to environmental damage? What about when some basic level is required to fulfil needs, as with energy?
Recently we argued that we should shift the blame for the climate impact of air travel on to those that overuse the system – a tax on frequent flyers.
2. Taxes are important, but changing the way we behave means engaging people in solutions.
Taxes can cause disengagement – they psychologically disconnect polluters from their responsibility. It’s like paying a debt – you walk away with a clean conscience having absolved your guilt.
The link between polluter and pollution is lost and over time energy consumers begin to resent levies on their bills for a problem that seems distant. Projects across Europe are discovering that engaging energy consumers directly in solutions, for example through community renewable schemes, has huge potential to revolutionise our energy system.

Don't miss these:

1. The latest UK Consumer Satisfaction Index confirms that utilities remain the worst performing sector:
Highest and lowest UKCSI scores by sector

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In other news…

Solar subsidies
Former Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) minister Ed Davey strongly backed support for renewables, arguing that “solar power will do to energy what mobile phones did for communication and markets”, his successor Amber Rudd has just launched a consultation on the subsidy the industry receives, something the solar industry says simply comes too soon and will endanger all that has been achieved.
Top UK scientists and academics have once again told governments that urgent action on climate change is required - and that Britain has a special responsibility. Meanwhile, research released by LSE’s Grantham Institute argued that, even in the absence of international cooperation, action on climate change is in individual national interests in most cases.
Following the long-awaited Davies Commission findings, which recommended that Heathrow should be allowed to build a third runway, environmental groups pointed out the difficulty of squaring this with UK climate targets. Activists took to the tarmac of Heathrow’s north runway to force the point home.
Fossil fuel frontiers
While Shell gets ready to start deep-water drilling in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska, to many locals’ dismay, other frontiers are being primed. Big oil companies are eying up Iran’s deposits in the wake of recent agreements to lighten international sanctions, and Australia plans to open up vast new coal mines for export to China and India.
Fossil fuel industry
But some think it’s already game over for the fossil fuel industry –  this comment piece argues the industry is now in terminal decline with 15 to 30 years left to go. An industry insider made the same argument earlier this year, insisting it’s only a matter of time until one major company breaks the ranks.
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
The European Commission, acknowledging that the market for carbon emissions contains an excess of permits, proposed that the overall emissions cap should fall faster to stimulate permit prices. It also proposed that many sectors should lose their free allocation of permits. Industry thought it went too far; environmentalists, not far enough. Though there are signs the reforms are already increasing permit prices.
Best wishes,
Stephen Devlin and the Energy Crunch team

Energy round-up: green taxes - love or hate? | New Economics Foundation

See also:
Futures Forum: Climate change: and flying
Futures Forum: Gas vs coal: overstating the case
Futures Forum: Climate change: "Government is the problem, not the solution" >>> "The best way to combat anthropogenic global warming is for government to stop doing stuff like actively subsidizing or mandating sprawl, subsidizing long-distance shipping and transportation, and subsidizing energy consumption."
Futures Forum: Climate change: and the film 'The Merchants of Doubt'
Futures Forum: Climate change: "Conservatives don’t hate climate science. They hate the left’s climate solutions"
Futures Forum: The $88bn fossil fuel bailout
Futures Forum: The Global Warming Policy Foundation
Futures Forum: Climate change: Ralph Nader and the 'Kingpins of Carbon'

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