Green Taxes? How does that help?

So suddenly, out of the blue, a report comes out that Global Warming is having a deadly effect on our planet and that we could be destroying our children’s future and the Prime Minister is backing it with very strong words.

Well done. For me I just watch the weather, read New Scientist news feeds, keep an open mind and watched An Inconvenient Truth, and I have known for some time that things aren’t going well. I’m sure we all have. Except now it’s seen as a trendy issue and one that could have an effect at the poles.

Then the papers suddenly have the rumoured leak – a common practice to gauge public opinion – of increases in taxes, Green Taxes as they are called, proposed by the Government.

Taxes? How are these going to solve the impending crisis we’re facing? How is earning the Government more money to the budget going to stop the pollution?

The plans are supposedly to raise taxes on cars and flights to cause the public to travel less by these methods and move to public transport. Quite frankly these are idiotic, thought out by a one year old, and only suggested to raise more money for the Government.

The first and most obvious point is that there is no regulation on the spending of the tax raised funds that would control where the taxes are spent. This could mean that Green Taxes were paying for a motorway extension or, noble and right as it is, supplementing old people’s heating to be raised during the winter, or for the foreign flights and private cars of Government Ministers. How can any of these examples actually help the environment?

There are also the closer to home issues. Raising the costs of flights could mean that less people can afford to travel and the budget airlines, who rely on numbers to reduce costs, will start to raise their offer prices. We’ll see a reduction in cheap offers, a hike in prices, a lowering of people travelling, and this cycle could repeat until budget airlines go out of business and less people fly.

Well in a harmful way we’ve reduced pollution from planes by closing down airlines and reducing budget travel I guess.

Yet will we have more people taking to public transport because of that? I doubt it, I think we’ll see an increase in people driving, especially because they can afford it more now that they can’t take budget airline holiday packages. That saved money can be put to car costs.

Increasing tax on so called “large cars” is madness too. Firstly this had better be taxed on the pollution actually created from the exhaust of a vehicle and not the wheel, engine, or physical size. I mean a twenty year old four seater family car will be throwing out more pollution than a new diesel jeep. How can you penalise the jeep driver on that basis? Especially considering the state of the roads nowadays and the damage they can cause a standard vehicle.

My new(ish) sports car has less pollution output than most older vehicles, especially considering I do a mere three thousand miles a year in it. So why penalise me?

People will not stop using their vehicles because it gets more expensive because they are convenient, quick, and get you from point to point on your terms and your time in your private, safe zone. Public transport does not offer this.

So what’s the answer? Well if the PM is so adamant of the dangers why doesn’t he show his balls? After all he’ll invade a country, why can’t they set some laws to save the planet?

  • Make non-energy efficient light bulbs obsolete and illegal
  • Make it law to recycle all recyclable materials
  • Make it law that all councils collect and recycle recyclable materials
  • Make it law that all manufacturers use recyclable materials that can actually be recycled. Not ones that can be if you live nearby a specialist collection point.
  • Make it law that all new builds have roofs of solar panels connected to the power supplies
  • Make it law that all new builds have wind vanes connected to the power supplies
  • Make it law that all new builds have low water usage toilets
  • Make solar panel manufacturers reduce the cost of panels
  • Make local councils relax planning laws on wind vane and solar panel installation. After all being submerged, frozen or dead will mean you won’t see that view anyway
  • Make it law for businesses to install solar panels and wind vanes on their premises
  • Positively encourage and assist with the private installation of wind vanes and solar panels
  • Positively encourage and assist with the replacement of all existing toilets to low water usage toilets
  • Replace all communal property lighting with low energy lighting activated by light levels, not with lighting that’s permanently on
  • Drop the nuclear power program
  • Build wind, wave, water and sun power stations around the country en mass
  • Invest in the development of more efficient green energies and power sources
  • Force the car and fuel companies by law to create green cars and fuels, not just greener
  • Stop electric car manufacture and force ethanol and other forms of green car. This isn’t addressing green issues, it’s moving the power demand to the stations, and do electric cars use less of their fuel units per mile? Ethanol cars produce 100% oxygen emissions
  • Force car manufacturers to develop the current models of cars in green options such as Ethanol. Make them develop fast, good looking sports cars, large people carriers, etc. The public need the viable replacement for their vehicle, not a tiny, ugly, boxy vehicle that has no power, storage, or safety features
  • Force airplane manufacturers to develop planes that run on green fuels
  • Make harsh laws on business emissions and pollutants, and staff and fund departments who can enforce these laws properly across the area they are responsible. Current departments are under manned and funded
  • Make it law that all Forests used for felling must be managed and each tree felled must be replaced
  • Swap the entire public transport fleet for green energy vehicles, not electric, all ethanol, etc.
  • Invest heavily in public transport
  • Make it safe on the roads for cyclists
  • Change the laws in favour of cyclists on the roads
  • Do not say “They don’t do it so we…” or “They are worse than us so we…”

So why can’t we just do it instead of taking baby steps? Cost? You mean it’s not costing us now in both money and our kids and their kids lives? With a war currently going on that is running up billions?

Last weekend I made a move. Every bulb in the house is now low energy. I didn’t replace one, wait a couple of years to see if the world was saved and then replace another, repeating the process every few years hoping that I manage to make enough short term change. No. I replaced them all at once and made the big difference from right there and then.

Sure, use the argument that it’s only a few bulbs, but if everyone replaced every single bulb with a low energy one, what would the effect be then? What if we all had solar panels, low water usage toilets, or even ethanol cars?

It’s time to stop asking “what if?” and make the change.

5 comments on “Green Taxes? How does that help?”

  1. Patrick Reply

    Not sure that I agree with everything you say, but most of it seems to be plain common sense. So the likelihood of of any government doing any of it is probably nil…

    The thing about “green taxes” arethat they are meant to affect people’s behaviour – people will supposedly change what they do for financial reasons.

    What gets me is the thought that most reasonable people have accept the idea of global warming for a long while – and nothing has happened. Then the Stern report comes out, quantifying what it might actualy mean to the economies of the world, and suddenly there is a clarion call for action.

    So: calamitous change, the deaths of millions of people, flooding, drought – no action. “It might cost us some money” – and everybody gets moving!

  2. Richard Brunton Reply

    I realise they are supposed to affect people’s behaviour, but it’s not even as though they are thinking it through. Increasing the cost of running a car will not stop people using their cars. It won’t me.

    You’re dead on with the motivational reasons. It’s all about the money.

    However there’s one thing this country does really well, save in the short term but shell out in the long term. There’s never any real long term planning done, everything’s right now, and if there is a cost saving of a cheaper item X then they’ll use it, not thinking that in three years instead of twelve it’ll need replacing.

    Then there’s no real investment made long term. Everyone says that green energy sources don’t provide enough energy. Well of course, everyone’s refusing them because they’ll block the view from their new half million pound energy draining house they had purpose built, and because they aren’t being used widely there’s no large investment in improving them.

    Never mind, chances are I’ll be dead before the crap really hits the atmosphere, and since I don’t have kids it’s only other peoples that are going to die.

  3. Lee Reply

    We don’t so much need tax, we need greedy energy companies who double their prices to encourage us to use less. My monthly elecy bill has gone up today from £26.50 to £64.50. Only energy companies can get away with doubling prices to try and get customers to use less, more profit for less outlay. What a business model!

    If only the banks could get away with that, but then the monetary select committe jump in say scnadal.

    When the pipeline opened to Norway last month the price of gas went NEGATIVE for a while. Will the likes of British Gas start paying us to use it? I don’t think so.

    For the domestic market micro-generation is going to be the way ahead, and I’ve already thought about ripping out my hot water tank to run pipes across the roof. Not this winter, though.

  4. Richard Brunton Reply

    Raising prices of gas and electricity won’t work Lee, we’ll just see more people broke and homeless, and more older people freezing to death in winter.

    In your house you could easily get solar panels up there. What would you want to run hot water pipes on the roof for? Surely you’d want them underfloor for the heat to rise?

    You could have a rainwater collection tank on the side of the house with all the guttering feeding into it too.

    Me? I’m going to have difficulty convincing my neighbours to allow anything to be put up on the flats.

  5. pablo Reply

    I have recently bought a house built by the rural building company. Yes i know its in australia, thats where i live.

    But if you have time, then have a quick read through their site. While they aren’t perfect, they have many energy saving measures as standard.

    IF, and lets fact it its a big if, the government(s) made it law(or heavily subsidised) homes to be built in energy saving ways then it would make a difference.

    Giving people the option to do what they want, i.e “if you buy this car then we will tax you”, will never work and i agree in that it only works as a revenue source.

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