Thursday, March 13, 2008

Carbon tax attack in Denmark

The carbon tax experiment has been going on for some time in Europe, and the results are not good. Denmark, for example, hit people with "revenue-neutral" carbon taxes starting in 1991. Once it started to hit industry, manufacturing employment started to fall as manufacturers closed. Surprise surprise, carbon tax revenue fell as well. By 2001, with economic growth hovering at less than one percent, the government fell and the incoming government froze, and later cut all taxes, including energy taxes.

The lesson here, and one that is supported by the experience in other European countries, is a government can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as long as they're willing to cut economic and job growth as well.

The Danes have learned from their experience. Maybe we could too.

1 comment:

utit said...

The Liberals are proposing cutting income tax as they increase carbon tax. If we're being taxed anyway, isn't it ok to just shift the source from income to pollution?

Another idea is investing our carbon tax revenues into industries that use or develop more sustainable energy like wind or solar, or become more energy efficient, so there's no need for anyone to loose their job.

As for drivers, really good electric car technology exists. There are people out there who can build electric cars that use energy more efficiently than the average gas-powerd car. The oil industry is blocking their use. They are more energy efficient than what we're driving now.

Watch "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

We need to put pressure on the government to either improve energy efficiency standards for existing cars (and industries) or start putting electric engines and batteries into existing cars and not let this production go to a private company, but a public company, making it not-for-profit and therefore affordable for consumers, and within citizen control.

Economic sustainability is better than constant economic growth, because growth cannot go on forever. We need to learn from Native societies. They survived on this continent in such harmony with their resources for millenia until europeans came and destroyed so much in just a couple hundred years, threatening their own future (think cod fishery, salmon fishery, pollution, forests, etc) in the name of economic growth.

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