Friday, April 21, 2006

David Cameron outlines carbon tax plan

This is quite interesting for us in the UK. Our govornment have performed fairly miserably in terms of serious climate policies at the domestic level, despite strong words internationally. The conservatives, traditionally the right wing, free market foes of environmentalists have picked up on climate change in a big way, progress looks like the only way now. Lets hope something comes of this bipartisan agreement on the necessity of action.

The tax system could be used to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour, David Cameron has said.

In a key note speech on global warming, made during a visit to Norway, the Conservative leader also spelled out his plans for an alternative to the climate change levy.

He called for both local initiatives and action on a global scale in order to prevent climate change having a major impact on the planet.

And he said that the time has come for "a new green revolution".
"Tackling climate change will require genuinely fresh thinking," Cameron argued.
"We must not be afraid of using the tax system and market mechanisms to encourage investment in, and take up of, clean new technologies which will transform the way we do business, create new markets, and reduce our impact on the planet.

"We must make sure that the various methods we use amount to a coherent whole, ensuring the carbon is priced effectively.

"It isn't the job of government to pick technologies. It isn't the job of government to tell people how to live their lives.

"It is the job of government to set a rational framework within which producers and consumers recognise the environmental cost of carbon because it comes home to them as an actual money-cost."

He said that a system of 'carbon pricing' covering the entire British economy is one policy option to be looked at by Conservative policy task forces.
The Tory chief pledged that "the overall effect of the framework" will be fiscally neutral.

"Activities which produce more carbon emission will cost more, those that produce fewer emissions will cost less. And the net effect will be neutral,"
he said.

He renewed calls for the government's climate change levy to be scrapped.

"The climate change levy is a tax on energy consumed by business,"

he said.
"It fails to make sufficient distinction between energy produced from low carbon sources and energy produced from high carbon sources.

"The climate change levy should therefore be replaced by a carbon levy which better distinguishes between high and low carbon production of energy, and which retains fiscal neutrality.

"I have asked our quality of life policy group and those involved in our energy review to recommend what form the new carbon levy should take, as part of a package of measures to price carbon and to deliver lower carbon emissions across the economy.

"In particular, I have asked the group to consider whether the carbon levy should operate as a business tax (like the climate change levy) or as a market mechanism, in which low carbon energy production and business use is encouraged through tradeable credits."
Cameron added:

"Tackling climate change is a key part of my ambition for the Conservative Party to lead a new green revolution.

"I want to recapture climate change from the pessimists. Of course it presents huge challenges. Of course the issues are complex. Of course it will require us to change.

"But when I think about climate change and our response to it, I don’t think of doom and gloom, costs and sacrifice.

"I think of a cleaner, greener world for our children to enjoy and inherit.
"I think of the almost unlimited power of innovation, the new technologies, the new products and services, and the progress they can bring for our planet and all mankind.
"And I think of the exciting possibilities that may seem a distant dream today - changing the way we live to improve our quality of life.
"We've all got to get positive about climate change."



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