Why I cringe when economists claim carbon taxes are the most ‘efficient’ way of curbing carbon emissions. With gilets jaunes blocking French cities, initially sparked by a carbon tax added to motor fuel taxes, and schoolchildren striking for climate change you would think that politicians were being forced in two contradictory directions. Especially when you get big time economists like Margaret Yelland (former Chair of the Federal Reserve) saying that carbon taxes are the key measure to reduce carbon emissions because they will be most ‘efficient’. Well, carbon taxes are not especially ‘efficient’ for two reasons. First because they are not very good at encouraging technical and social innovation and secondly however ‘efficient’ they may be in economists mind they are politically very unpopular if set at high levels (ie they are politically very inefficient). Certainly big corporations and right wing politicians tend to argue that that carbon taxes can solve the world’s climate problems much better than regulations. This appeals to some US audiences on an ideological level, but again, misses out the practical measures that need to be taken. Carbon taxes of course can be useful, but miss the point that in order to promote technological innovation you have to have some regulatory measures to encourage ‘bottom’ up’ technological innovation. Innovation requires niches supported by relevant incentives/regulations. if carbon taxes are applied as the ONLY measure on the level necessary to achieve big carbon reductions they will cause political rebellion on a much greater scale than anything attending the regulatory and incentive measures promoted by the renewable or energy efficiency trade associations and other NGOs. We need lots of different methods; incentives, regulations, carbon taxes, local cooperatives….whatever.
Dave Toke’s Blog 18th Feb 2019 read more »
Most European companies have no target for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions even though 80% see climate change as a business risk, a survey has found. Among those that have set climate goals, only one in three stretch beyond 2025, according to the annual Carbon Disclosure Project report. Instead, corporate action has focused in the boardroom, with 47% of firms rewarding their CEOs for climate performance, and a quarter tying incentives to environmental goals. European firms now make up half of the CDP’s environmental “A-list” and the managing director for Europe, Steven Tebbe, praised climate disclosure’s entry into the financial mainstream. One A-listed property management firm, Landsec, has cut its greenhouse gases by 17% since 2014 – on the way to a planned 40% tail-off by 2030. Caroline Hill, Landsec’s head of sustainability, said: “We set what was the first science-based carbon reduction target in real estate, based on what was needed in our sector to ensure the world keeps within 1.5 to 2C of global warming.” She said the company drove down energy consumption in London offices and sub urban retail parks by upgrading to LED lighting and systematically installing rooftop solar panels.
Guardian 19th Feb 2019 read more »
The world’s greenest major companies continue to deliver strong returns against stock market averages, according to the latest Carbon Clean 200 rankings. The Clean200 list, which was first launched by research firm Corporate Knights and non-profit As You Sow in July 2016, ranks 200 publicly-listed companies according to the amount of absolute revenue they earned from low carbon products and services.
Business Green 19th Feb 2019 read more »