July 30, 2016

When raising carbon taxes, let’s try to keep the war against climate-change and the redistribution profiteers at bay

While the crude oil price index fell from 100% in 1980 to 18% in 1998, the products price index on the consumer level increased in the UK in constant terms from 100% to 247%; a result of that taxes on petrol went from 85% added value in 1980 to a confiscatory 456% in 1998. And the tax increase, similarly applied in other European countries was predicated on environmental reasons… even though for instance Germany and Spain, were simultaneously subsidizing coal. And when consumer protested the increase of petrol prices the blame was laid on the sheiks.

And now Tim Harford argues for the need to “raise the price of carbon-dioxide emissions, using internationally coordinated taxes or their equivalent [because] such a tax would make renewable energy sources more attractive – as well as encouraging energy-efficient technologies and behaviour”, “Alternative energy’s power struggle” July 30. 

Sir, even though I come from an oil extracting nation, Venezuela, that is something with which I could agree, but only under two conditions.

First that all the taxes and subsidies in the energy sector need to be absolutely transparent so that there is no hanky-panky going on.

And second, so that this do not just enrich many of the war against climate-change profiteers, all those tax revenues should be distributed equally to all citizens by means of a variable universal basic income. The beauty of it all is that doing so, would equally help, somewhat, to keep the many redistribution profiteers at bay.

Per Kurowski