This week, someone wrote to CCL UK, saying they would like to campaign for a carbon tax but wondered if the dividend was the best use of money.
This is a great question – why isn’t the money raised used to subsidise, for example, public transport, or house insulation?
Here’s a few ideas why and something to put in your letter to your MEPs (pick the ones which best fit with their political bent):
- The dividend is really what CCL is all about – it will probably be impossible to have a high enough carbon tax to make a difference to emissions without the dividend. (It’s also important to say it’s one tool in a range of measures to tackle climate change, albeit a highly effective one which focuses on emissions.)
- Politically – especially centre and right – raising taxes are unpopular. The dividend ensure that, overall, taxes do not go up.
- Raising carbon taxes – especially for vehicle petrol, heating and home energy – will cause a lot of impoverishment to the most vulnerable in society. The dividend is divided equally amongst the population and is, effectively, a redistribution of money. This will mean low and middle income families are better off as they buy less stuff and therefore have a lower carbon footprint. So they will receive more in dividends than they will spend on the inevitable higher prices, thus protecting them from impoverishment.
- As a result, it rewards those who keep their carbon footprint low.
- It does not judge people on their personal choices, or expect everyone doing their bit to change the world (it won’t) but pushes business and the economy into zero carbon options.
- It taxes technology on emissions, rather than what looks like the shiny new technology toy or on a limited range of emissions (diesel cars?), thus encouraging true zero greenhouse gas solutions.