Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Are they gone off their rockers?

"The costs incurred are potentially huge and are likely to be passed on to the consumer." (source: Times Online)

Did you guess?

Yes, we're talking environment taxes (again!)
This is really annoying, as it is not only leading the main topic of this blog astray, but it also risks make me sound like someone who doesn't care about environment.

I care about environment, I really do.
Sadly, however, unlike Labour politicians (and in particular Mr. Milliband - isn't he a bit too young be a Minister, by the way? or is this "ageism"?) I am unable to switch off my brain when considering possible solutions.

Ok - let's use the same trick as in my previous post and suspend belief: let's assume, this once only, that politicians know what they are doing, and that, indeed, raising hefty taxes on all sorts of businesses will lead to lower carbon emissions.

As far as the UK is concerned, this might actually work: those businesses with a multinational presence will simply move out of UK and choose places where conducting their trade is simpler/cheaper.

Those businesses that cannot "emigrate" will either lose competitivity and go bust, or will pass on (if they can) increased costs to consumers who will have to reduce consumption (working harder to maintain a half-decent standard of living would not be an option in such a spiralling downturn).

The net outcome would be, in either case, a reduced economic activity leading, by definition, to lower carbon emissions (either directly or indirectly).

Objective achieved?

Well, rather not - as I mentioned, a large proportion of businesses will simply choose to conduct their business elsewhere (China and India spring to mind, but Eastern Europe, or even France, God forbid! could start to look like attractive destinations) while at the same time, those businesses that are already "polluting" elsewhere without too much trouble (USA, anyone?) will carry on doing so.

Had this Country a responsible Government, instead of planning out-of-control taxation policies, they would exert serious and meaningful pressure on their international counterparts for some form of concerted action: sadly, we can't really bash the USA for having dumped Kyoto (we stand shoulder-to-shoulder, don't we?) or China for being the largest world consumer of energy and commodities (we are "engaging" the Commies, not "confronting" them, aren't we?) nor India for having the worst environmental record (the Colonial past being what it is).

It is also worth noting that the UK, with its less than 60m population, counts for less than 1% the global population - and even taking into account our larger share of economic output, even assuming we were to go "totally green" the world would barely notice.

It is worth mentioning, in passing, that reducing United Kingdom to a pre-industrial economy would achieve approximately the same effect, so I would strongly urge our politicians to consider this alternative too.

Or mabye not, they may miss the sarcasm, go ahead and do it.


youdontknowme said...

All this government does is tax people to solve things. once there is a problem their first solution is more tax. Why can't they be original and think up something new.

I have a way here:


It involves putting a limi on the amount of plane journeys then auctioning them off to plane companies.

Marco Massenzio said...

Well, definitely more creative than straight landing taxes, but, still, a form of taxation nonetheless.

It also does not encourage one (least of all plane companies) to more "environmentall friendly" means: it is just a financial measure.

Using more fuel-efficient, low-emission planes would not be rewarded unded this scheme, would it?

It also begs the question as to what one would do with the monies raised thus?

Obviously, they ought to be spent on the environment, HOWEVER, under the current system, all taxes in UK wind up in the big Treasury pot and get allocated according to pork-barrell policies.

youdontknowme said...

I don't think there are any environmentally friendly planes.

This would help the environment a bit as with a limit on the amount of planes there won't need to be any airport extension which they are talking about to cope so villages and countryside will not be whiped out.

It will also deal with overcrowding in the sky which is supposed to be a problem.

Anonymous said...

I think all flights should be cut by 90%, either that or airline fuel is taxed at the same rate any other fuel is.