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Jeremy Warner Hawks His Carbon Tax

October 21, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Jeremy Warner had this article in yesterday’s Telegraph:

 

Carbon taxes are coming

Possibly more in hope than expectation, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, plans to deliver a Budget on Nov 6, by which time we are meant to have left the European Union.

It will be a faintly surreal affair – a pre-election giveaway, with the fiscal rules massaged to accommodate the extra borrowings needed to pay for it all. Yet without a majority in Parliament, there is little chance of implementation. Johnson needs to win an election first.

One of the consequences of the last three and a half years of Brexit torture is that all other big picture priorities have been shunted aside; if, tantalisingly, we are now close to leaving, then finally we will be able to start thinking about wider challenges.

One such issue is climate change, which the Government promises to tackle by committing to an almost wholly meaningless target of net zero emissions by the middle of the century. Targets are worth nothing without a credible plan for achieving them, and so far we don’t have one.

Protesters in Whitehall in London, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest

Protesters in Whitehall in London, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

The Juncker curse has it that “we know what has to be done, we just don’t know how to get re-elected afterwards”. Climate change is a case in point. There is overwhelming public support and pressure for action, until, that is, the costs of it are laid bare.

In the short term, these will be considerable, with the payback uncertain and long into the future. Crudely imposed climate change measures can moreover easily backfire, as occurred with the “gilets jaunes” protest movement in France when a rapid ramping up of carbon taxes at a time of stagnant wages erupted in an explosion of public anger.

Realistically, however, carbon taxes are likely to prove the only effective way of incentivising the required energy transition. All the alternatives – emissions trading schemes, carbon floor prices, feebates (incentives to buy fuel efficient goods such as electric cars) and heavy-handed regulation (enforced energy efficiency standards) – tend to fall short in some way or other.

How could the Chancellor introduce such a tax without destroying his party’s electoral prospects? A potential answer comes in the form of new analysis by the International Monetary Fund. This concludes that a carbon tax of $75 (£58) a ton globally is needed within the next 10 years to contain the rise in temperatures to the two degrees scientists judge manageable.

Just to put that in perspective, the current effective average tax on carbon globally is just $2. By the IMF’s calculation, a $75 carbon tax would raise the price of coal by 200pc, natural gas by 70pc, and petrol by 5pc to 15pc, depending on how heavily it is already taxed locally.

The good news is that because the UK has already reduced its use of coal for electricity generation to virtually zero, the effect is not going to be as bad for us as many others. Even so, it’ll be quite bad enough; a $75 carbon tax would raise the UK’s overall tax burden by around 0.7pc of GDP.

Yet provided this is done in a revenue neutral manner, it might not be as politically controversial as it seems. Combining carbon taxes with offsetting, equally distributed dividend payments to the public would disproportionately benefit low earners, with around 40pc of the population making a net gain, and would thereby create a large constituency in favour of the tax.

Any loss of international competitiveness among those with high carbon taxes could be countered via border adjustment tariffs of the kind already being considered by the European Union. This would in turn incentivise laggard nations to fall into line.

I’d be surprised if any of this gets an airing in the Budget on Nov 6, but sooner or later, carbon taxes are coming, driving transformational change that frankly is likely to be much bigger in its real life impact than the obsession of the moment – Brexit.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/10/20/boriss-great-advantage-people-fed-brexit/

 

Just because you keep repeating an argument does not make it right!

A carbon tax on its own will inevitably have little effect on emissions, other than marginally reducing energy consumption.

After all, we already have the biggest carbon tax of the lot, fuel duty. Yet this has very little impact at all. It does not make us switch to EVs, it has little impact on fuel consumption. Indeed it does not even seem to make us buy smaller cars, if the popularity of SUVs is anything to go by.

But it is a big earner for the government.

 

According to Warner, gas prices would rise by 70%, guaranteeing fuel poverty. But what else would that achieve? We still need to heat out houses and cook, and electricity is three times as expensive as gas, so nobody will be switching to that.

To eliminate emissions from natural gas means stopping people from using it, and forcing either electrical alternatives or producing and distributing hydrogen in mass quantities. The government simply has not got the money to pay for either of these unpalatable alternatives, as Warner himself should know.

Similarly nobody is going to buy EVs in any serious numbers, until conventional cars are banned completely, or taxed out of existence.

As for power generation, while carbon floor prices have encouraged generators to switch from coal to gas, it is subsidies which have brought wind and solar power on stream. Again, gas generation could be taxed out of existence, but then the grid would have no dispatchable power to fall back on.

And, as we know, higher energy prices will simply drive industry off shore. Warner’s potty idea of a border tariff would be of little help. It would simply increase the cost of living and trigger a trade war with China and other countries who have no desire to follow suit.

What is absolutely certain is that China and India will remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels for many years to come, whether they implement some sort of carbon tax or not.

31 Comments
  1. markl permalink
    October 21, 2019 5:41 pm

    Carbon tax has to be the epitome of the AGW movement and serves no purpose other than producing tax revenue, hamstringing productivity, and wrecking economies. It effectively raises prices of goods in industrialized countries to the point they are outsourced to countries without strict CO2 rules. The goods must still be produced so it only moves the source to somewhere else, but still in the same atmosphere. Much like electric cars that utilize fossil fuel produced electricity. Meanwhile people believe something positive for our environment is happening. People need to wake up to the scam.

    • ColA permalink
      October 21, 2019 11:53 pm

      Off topic sorry – but important!!

      GOVERNMENT PETITION TO REMOVE AUSTRALIA FROM THE PARIS AGREEMENT!

      https://www.aph.gov.au/petition_list?id=EN1116

      SIGN IT!!

    • Pat permalink
      October 22, 2019 8:48 am

      Even accepting, for the sake of argument, that CO² emissions need reducing it is pointless doing it in one country. I seem to recall there was a profitable aluminium smelter in Wales that was effectively shut down as it’s energy came from a neighbouring coal fired power station. This has the intended effect of reducing emissions from Britain – but we still use aluminium from somewhere and making causes the same emissions, plus emissions from the deal used in transporting it, this worldwide emissions were increased.
      Unless we can convince China,America and India to apply the same measures as ourselves we are impoverishing ourselves to no purpose.
      And that’s assuming that CO² is a problem, which the Indians and Chinese obviously don’t believe, not does the current US government.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        October 22, 2019 12:50 pm

        The Anglesey Aluminium smelter relied on nuclear power from Wylfa, now closed. Aluminium requires constant power sources and cheap power. That’s why you find smelters in Iceland (geothermal), China (coal), South Africa (coal), Norway (hydro), Canada (hydro), France (nuclear), etc.

  2. Washington 76 permalink
    October 21, 2019 5:49 pm

    October / 03 / 2019 *55* New (2019) Scientific Papers Link Solar Activity To Climate Change

    In the last few years, hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published linking changes in solar activity to Earth’s climate (2016, 2017, 2018). The evidence for a robust Sun-Climate connection continues to accumulate in 2019.

    https://notrickszone.com/2019/10/03/55-new-2019-scientific-papers-link-solar-activity-to-climate-change/

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      October 21, 2019 7:45 pm

      Thanks for the link. There is a lot of good stuff there and it will take a while to absorb it all, but it does make you wonder how anyone can claim that the science is settled.

    • THe Man at the Back permalink
      October 21, 2019 9:30 pm

      Thanks Washington 76 – NoTricksZone is a must daily read (alongside NALOPKT of course).

      Pierre Gosselin and Kenneth Richard have been on the case these last few years siting hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers linking solar activity to climate.

      My guess (and I would love to be wrong) is that these hundreds of papers will get a two page mention in the next IPCC fake climate report – then dismissed out of hand.

      While I have the floor can I also plug – for those who have not found it.

      https://meteo.lcd.lu/

      The blog listed in the heading is worth a view as well as the main page.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    October 21, 2019 5:49 pm

    What is truly remarkable is the inability of most everyone complaining about global warming to admit something. That the whole thing is an almost complete dependence on the dismal, dire predictions and forecasts of climate models. Models that failed to predict the last 20 years. Predictions that failed to the point that the promoters of all this tried to pass it off as an artifact.
    Those kings need to put on some clothes?

  4. Gamecock permalink
    October 21, 2019 6:06 pm

    It’s just a tax. All the word salad is to get you to accept it.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      October 21, 2019 8:03 pm

      The way it’s described it is simply wealth redistribution.

      In reality the money will inevitably flow the ‘wrong’ way into the pockets of the self-appointed elite and their cronies (as it already is owing to current energy policy).

      ‘Revenue neutral’ – ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

  5. NeilC permalink
    October 21, 2019 6:37 pm

    Considering the correlation between CO2 and temperature (CET) for the last 20 years has been negative, what’s the problem about?

  6. October 21, 2019 7:48 pm

    I read somewhere that China burns more coal than the rest of the world put together. I wonder when the Chinese will introduce a carbon tax.

    • October 21, 2019 7:53 pm

      It was Matt Ridley quoting from the BP statistical review for 2018. China 1907te; rest of world 1864te.

  7. Old Grumpy permalink
    October 21, 2019 8:34 pm

    Using taxes to skew the market is no remedy for anything.
    If whatever is proposed is economically sound (a low carbon economy, for instance) it’s adoption will need neither tax assistance nor subsidy.
    After all, the switch to diesel-powered tractors wasn’t inspired by a horse/oats tax.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 21, 2019 10:25 pm

      True. Governments are justly allowed to tax to raise money to pay for their legitimate functions.

      Using the tax system to affect/control people’s behavior is a corruption of that authority.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        October 22, 2019 7:55 am

        Time to hang the social engineers.

  8. Douglas Brodie permalink
    October 21, 2019 8:41 pm

    Over the past couple of months I’ve wasted my time telling our politicians why they are making utter fools of themselves with their hysteria about alleged man-made global warming and their pie in the sky “solution” to this imagined problem.

    For the war of words so far, including a dissembling reply from BEIS, my commentary on that reply and a second email to Secretary Leadsom see edmhdotme
    https://edmhdotme.wordpress.com/the-case-against-net-zero-co2-emissions-2/.

    • John189 permalink
      October 21, 2019 10:12 pm

      I have read through the exchange of correspondence in Douglas Brodie’s link and would like to offer two suggestions Firstly, if you approach the BEIS Secretary of State through your MP, you might force a reply from the lady herself. If I have understood correctly, you live in Nairn, in which case your MP is the SNP’s Drew Hendry who is actually on the BEIS Select Committee and is his party’s spokesman on Energy. Secondly, to stymie some of the potential arguments against you, there is no harm in “agreeing” that the Earth’s climate has warmed somewhat oveer the past 150 years, but then zero in on the absurdity of claiming a permanent, ongoing trend from a short-term increase by referring to the Ice Age scare of the 1970s.

      • Douglas Brodie permalink
        October 22, 2019 8:20 am

        I tend to ignore my own MP Drew Hendry as he is a raging climate alarmist fully signed up to the net zero emissions policy, like all the rest of the SNP clones. I didn’t even realise he was on the BEIS Strategy Committee so I’ll give your suggestion a go.

        I’ve used the 1970s Ice Age scare in past correspondence but this time I laboured the point that the long ago brief warming spell centred on the 1980s and 90s has been the only period in the last 75 years when global temperatures have shown sustained correlation with rising atmospheric CO2. Some climate emergency!

  9. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    October 21, 2019 10:37 pm

    The good news is that because the UK has already reduced its use of coal for electricity generation to virtually zero, the effect is not going to be as bad for us as many others.

    This might show a delusional disorder.
    First stop burning North American trees!
    Business (jobs) need reliable energy, without which income will fall and wealth will decline.
    The “others” will adjust. Imports will be costly, so do with less.
    A nice future. Bleak and cold.
    ‘You can’t do just one thing.’

  10. Philip Verslues permalink
    October 21, 2019 10:51 pm

    Being an American it looks to me that the UK, and the EU are committing slow motion suicide. Whatever one thinks of Trump he has the the economy moving by removing Crazy Reg. Lowering bossiness taxes, and backing low cost fossil fuel energy. He will be reelected.

  11. October 21, 2019 11:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  12. Steve permalink
    October 22, 2019 7:57 am

    This is the tax rise predicted to allow the offshore wind companies to wriggle out of their low tenders at a third of the previous rates agreed by negotiation with the Decc dumbos. The true cost is probably somewhere in between.

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    October 22, 2019 8:31 am

    Yesterday’s antics by the Morons of Parliament ended any chance of the UK leaving the EU with a deal on 31 October simply because of the requirement for the UK to have passed the required legislation before the European Parliament will ratify the deal. The EP meets tomorrow which is too soon. The next session is 13/14 November – after the Javid budget. There is still the no deal option should the European Council decide it has had enough of the Morons and refuse any extension to the 31 October deadline. But don’t expect a journalist to understand the process.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 25, 2019 11:10 pm

      Deadline? Surely you jest.

  14. October 22, 2019 8:31 am

    Yesterday in Bridgend we had a power cut, It lasted about two hours between 3pm and 5pm
    It is rare to have power cuts in the UK. You may get one in a year but many years there are none. I remember electricity cuts used to me more common in my youth. We would check we had candles and matches a handy torch with batteries that worked even a paraffin lamp.
    Maybe because my Mother remembered the time before household electricity and the electricity disruption during the war.
    But so rare are electricity cuts that we no longer prepare for them. Yet so many of our systems are tied to electricity. Even my gas boiler requires electricity as does my cordless phone. The computer requires the rooter for the internet and mobiles require electric chargers. I had a copy of yellow pages and looked up the power cut telephone number 105
    and phoned while I still had charge on my mobile. The electric came back on as informed and long before the food defrosted.
    I am able to afford to heat and light my home and there is a regular supply of gas and electricity. Maybe those that wish to tax and change the current system should try living without electricity and gas for a week or two and see if they are still so keen on there ideas.

  15. Steve permalink
    October 22, 2019 9:58 am

    Off subject. The BBC has a new article under the Climate Change headline about peatlands drying out and becoming carbon emitters. The study by a scientist called Swindles looks at peat over 1000 and 2000 years. The final paragraph mentions that most of the drying out has been caused by drainage.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      October 22, 2019 12:53 pm

      No mention of concrete bases and roadways for wind farms? A serious omission.

  16. 2hmp permalink
    October 22, 2019 11:00 am

    If Jeremy Warner was right about his repeated forecasts he would be inordinately wealthy. He isn’t, which is why he has to write these pieces. This latest is a piece of nonsense,

  17. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 22, 2019 12:55 pm

    With the EU unable to agree on a zero carbon 2050 target, I suspect that carbon tax will also prove difficult for them, especially given the realities of trying not to break WTO rules.

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