CCL member Gareth Ackland has had his letter published in New Scientist:
Debora MacKenzie is right to flag up the fear of higher environmental taxes, which could only make life disproportionately harder for the poor (Partition Mentality, 25 May, page 23). It may indeed fuel populism and nourish the idea that environmentalists are part of an elite.
The Carbon Tax and Dividend scheme championed by James Hansen accounts for this, and indeed inverts it. As all levies raised from extraction or import are divided equally between citizens, the dividend received by someone on a low income would easily outweigh the increases in their weekly shop. A high earner who overconsumes would be penalised and hopefully incentivised to adapt.
This is an excellent summary of our carbon tax and dividend policy. As we’ve seen in France, trying to price carbon, which is essential if we’re to get emissions down at anything like the rate needed, risks a backlash if it leaves those already struggling to get by worse off. To ensure a just transition to a zero carbon society we need policies that don’t place the greatest burden on the poorest, who are those with the smallest carbon footprints.
Image by O.Ortelpa