As regular readers will know we're pretty simple in our approach to climate change around here. If it's happening, we're causing it, then the thing to do about it is a carbon tax. That lovely Pigouvian Tax on externalities, just as Mssrs. Stern, Nordhaus and Tol tell us is the solution. And, for the sake of argument, while we think it's too high, we're willing to at least consider Stern's rate of $80 per tonne CO2-e. Which brings us to:
Environmental taxes hit a new record high of £44.6 billion in 2014, official figures show, as the bill for renewable energy levies rose to almost £3 billion. The data from the ONS shows that the green tax burden has more than doubled over the past two decades, from £19.4 billion in 1994. Last year saw the ninth consecutive increase in the tax burden, which stood at £43 billion in 2013. The vast majority of the taxes are those levied on transport fuels such as petrol and diesel, accounting for £27.1 billion. Vehicle duties accounted for £6 billion of the total and air passenger duty £3.2 billion. The cost of renewable energy taxes to subsidise wind and solar farms rose by more than a fifth to £2.9 billion.
So, the UK has already solved climate change. We're done and dusted. Emissions are of the order of 500 million tonnes a year in this country. That's $40 billion in taxes righteously required in order to adjust market prices. We're already charging ourselves more than that. We're done.
This is of course somewhat in contrast to the repeated squeals that much more should be done. But this is absolutely the mainstream scientific opinion here that we are cleaving to. If climate change, then carbon tax. And when the appropriate tax is in place then no more need be done, we can just wait for that alteration of prices to work through the market system.
So, what's it like to live in the first country that has actually dealt with the major environmental challenge of our times? And wouldn't it be just lovely if those who rule us realised that they've already managed that feat?