Climate change: tax instruments unstoppable.

Tax. About as exciting as a dried up piece of toast and a cold
cup-o-tea. But hey, apparently those three letters will save our planet, so get to know them. That’s T, A, X, ….. TAX. Or, for those with a bad memory; Totally Awesome seX (copyrighted especially for the American market).

The following important developments are reported this week in the International Herald Tribune. Their sources are Reuters, Bloomberg & AP.

(1) The US must act to cap its emissions and join the fight against climate change or risk losing global leadership.

(2) The US must therefore;
(a) raise petroleum tax by $1 a gallon (26c a litre)
(b) tighten fuel economy standards for car manufacturers
(c) introduce a nationwide carbon trading system

These points were made in a report by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, who is an energy specialist. John Deutch was head of the CIA 1995-96. Deutch also proposes the expanded use of nuclear power, the development of clean coal technology and sharing the cost of emissions control between rich countries and large emerging nations.

The following points were made this week within a number of EU meetings, including the Tax Forum 2007;

(1) The EU taxation commissioner, Laszlo Kovacs, is urging a shift in the burden of taxation away from labour to emissions. A policy paper is due March 28.
(2) Kovacs was also at a conference on taxes and the environment with the German finance minister this week. The minister said finance ministers would be discussing the issue of using taxation to promote energy conservation as soon as next week.

In Belgium on Monday the government agreed new budgetary measures to cut pollution & curb climate change;

(1) taxes have been imposed on disposable shopping bags, foils and cutlery
(2) taxes to rise on high emission vehicles

The march of the enviro-tax appears to have found a new spring in its step. Best get used to it as they’ve only just started. Time to go on a low carbon diet!

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This entry was posted in Business, Carbon tax, Carbon trading, Climate change, Economics, Energy, Media, Nuclear, Politics & Policy initiatives, Pollution, Technology, Transport. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Climate change: tax instruments unstoppable.

  1. Pete Smith says:

    You know what, it might just work.

  2. Matt says:

    I think there are signs that it already is.

    The increased choice of consumers for low carb cars for example. The Japanese have been concentrating on this market for years. The American ‘Big 3’ less so but then they’re lossing billions.

    I like the Belgium idea of taxing disposable cutlery (and no doubt this includes disposable plates and cups). Such obviously unnecessary waste.

  3. Pete Smith says:

    I take it the Deutch report is the one he made for the Trilateral Commission. Good to see that dialogues in talking shops like this mirror the real world. While Deutch bigs up carbon storage, Anne Lauvergeon (chief executive of Areva, which builds nuclear power stations) says the technology won’t be viable for 50 years.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/19/business/green.php

    And so it goes on, while the Earth burns.

  4. matt says:

    I would say that Areva are talking against carbon storage because, there’s a real chance coal gasification and the like will steal some of their future business.

    Yes, I was also impressed by this forward looking agenda of this Trilateral Commission. They have been going since 1973; http://www.trilateral.org/about.htm

  5. Pete Smith says:

    I would say that Areva are talking against carbon storage because, there’s a real chance coal gasification and the like will steal some of their future business.

    LOL You think?

    Yes, I was also impressed by this forward looking agenda of this Trilateral Commission

    They had a very different agenda in 1973 of course, but some things have a resonance even now. They’re quite unusual in making all their documents available online in PDF format. Taking a fairly random pick from their library, “Looking Back…..And Forward” from 1976, it’s interesting how some themes sound familar today. Back then, the US was under pressure from declining oil production, and Nixon’s Project Independence, intended to provide complete energy self-sufficiency by 1980, had been watered down. No mention of climate change or the end of the Cold War though, so not that forward looking 😎

  6. earthpal says:

    Re. the Belgian government measures…it’s about time throwaway items were taxed more. I use large reusable bags for my groceries but I’m amazed that in my local store, I never, ever see anyone else using reusables…just plastic bag after plastic bag. Yesterday, I told the manager there that the plastic bag usage in his store was totally unethical given the current circumstances we face. He just said that reusable bags are available to purchase and unless the government intervenes, its a matter of customer choice. Well duh! Of course. I’ve always argued that voluntary participation rather than legislation is never going to work.

    I’m not going into the suggestion by Deutch about the expansion of nuclear power. You already know how I feel about that.

    Good morning guys. 🙂

  7. matt says:

    Morning earthpal.

    Plastic fantastic needs taxing fullstop imho. Too much of it around. Worse still, it’s always a crappy bit of plastic hinge or some such part of a product that breaks, rendering the whole thing useless. Grrrrrr!

  8. Pingback: Taxing times for changing climates « inel

  9. inel says:

    Good morning, matt. Do you have a link to Deutch’s most recent piece that was referred to by those US papers, please? I found these policy papers on Deutch’s MIT website.

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