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Blair’s last word on climate change

The Stern report on climate change is being published and has been seized upon by the government to continue its alarmist campaign for government expansion. Stern lists the usual disasters and argues that humanity must take action now to avoid impoverishment, although it was commissioned for an international audience. In Britain, the main impact is taxation, with the media concentrating on new charges and levies.

As the electorate are already sceptical about further tax increases, the self-appointed prophets are latching onto the paradigm of climate change to justify their onerous theft. Taxes on cars, aviation and other carbon generating activities will weigh more heavily upon the poor and lead to lower living standards now rather than the hypothetical poverty projected for the future.

The Letter from David Miliband, the appointment of the political failure Al Gore and the report by Stern are all designed to provide the intellectual ballast for continued government expansion. These taxes are politically unpalatable and would be rejected by the electorate, if levied without green cover. Therefore, climate change and catastrophism are the reasons for a ‘greener than thou’ ratchet effect, where politicians use Britain and our money to puff themselves up as a moral example for others.

Since the science and the scenarios are still so uncertain, climate change has been adopted as the vanguard for further taxation and a curb on British consumerism. Using the expansion of the state and taxes, rather than market mechanisms, our politicians will dampen our economic growth, steal our wealth, and wrap us in their parasitical hairshirt. The only light in this gloom is that the British electorate may reject such alarmism and the example of our political stupidity will lead India and other natiosn to seek technological and free-market solutions that do not curb their march away from poverty.

29 comments to Blair’s last word on climate change

  • The British electorate? Don’t make me laugh. As I think has been said before the British electorate will bend over and take it, all the while chanting “Please sir, can I have some more?” As long as politics is promoted as something distant, incomprehensible and a chore done for us, the herd will go where they are led. We’re stuck with statism until the revolution, we just have to grin and bear it.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    As a general rule this old dog finds that taking the reverse Al Gore position on any point of fact or principle works well. His appointment as an advisor to this fatheaded government fills mewith foreboding.

  • Jason

    Uncommonly warm for November.

  • Uncommonly October for November, too.

  • nic

    This (potential) set of environmental problems could even be an opportunity to roll back the state in some respects. How about, instead of raising taxes on how we are forced to live right now, offering massive tax-BREAKS (or even nullifying tax altogther) for companies and individuals that invent and produce new cleaner technology. You could encourage commericial growth while improving the environment at the same time. That way the UK could become a beacon for “environmental sutainability” rather than economic recession.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    nic, that is a nice line of thought and a pleasant break from the usual tendency to assume that we are in for a another wave of statism. There is in fact a free-market environmentalist tradition that emphasises the importance of property rights to conserve scarce resources, and so forth.

    There is, sadly, no doubt that the Green Cause has been embraced by socialists who yearn for another excuse to impose some form of planned society on us. Whether the UK electorate supinely put up with this, as Mandrill fears, is difficult to say. I think we may have already reached the highwater mark for what people are prepared to tolerate in the form of taxes, regulations and the rest.

    Or maybe I am just trying to look at the bright side. It is only Monday.

  • archduke

    there is a enormous source of potential energy located on the moon in the guise of helium-3 – a fuel that is ideal for nuclear fusion reactors. its quite rare on earth , but its super-abundant up there.

    now , any reasonable, forward thinking person would propose that we go back to the moon (and all the tech spinoffs that entails), whilst upping the research into nuke fusion technology. thats a visionary , upbeat approach – and could inspire an entire generation of youngsters to get into science and engineering.

    maybe thats what the chinese are aiming for , what with their recent manned launches into orbit? they desparately need to secure future energy sources – no matter where they come from.

    meanwhile , our brain dead government whitters on about moronic “green taxes”….

  • archduke

    “Uncommonly warm for November.”

    There were vineyards as far north as York back in Roman times.

  • So the government is going for ‘green taxes’.
    Meanwhile, in the private sector, we have a UK based firm coming up with this: http://www.envbike.com/
    Looks like the kind of toy that would tempt me if there is any money left after all those green taxes, the council tax mark up for the beautiful view of my neighbour’s garden gnomes etc.

  • Vinyards in York eh? No-one said the wine was any good though and the romans would drink just about anything.

  • I fear it is another building block towards being able to control us. Miliband was the one who wanted us to carry around a “carbon credit card”. This might imply he wants to record everything we buy and consume for its green cred. Maybe it will not.

    If we are to have additional “green taxes”, we should look at ALL existing taxes as part of the reform, not just new layers (just as with the local council “reform” a few days ago).

    One example: Commuting patterns are interfered with – incentives for office location create jobs in places where they would not naturally be, stamp duty, state education patchy forcing parents to be cautious about moving, thus requiring people to travel hours by car each day. State housing based on council geography keeping the unemployed/able in city centre slums and skilled workers outside. I am sure there are many many more instances of distortion.

  • nic

    “Meanwhile, in the private sector, we have a UK based firm coming up with this: http://www.envbike.com/
    Looks like the kind of toy that would tempt me if there is any money left after all those green taxes, the council tax mark up for the beautiful view of my neighbour’s garden gnomes etc.”

    Exactly. Obviously it takes a huge amount of risk to bring something with no infrastructure support into the market. But if a government made even a relatively minor comittment of “no tax on production or use of this technology for 50 years”, it would act as a spur for venture capitalists and other investors to give companies like this support. Lots of risk, but winner takes all rather than having a third creamed off in taxes.

    Won’t happen, obviously. I mean it would mean that tax revenue from transport would go down as people started using this technology. And governments at the moment won’t wilfully engage in a policy that will likely progressively lower their revenue in a sector. If only we could get some of those green onside on this front.

  • adam

    these taxes were proposed years ago, i have been reading abou them before all three major parties suddenly decided to go green (forced?)
    here is the flow chart:
    UN AGENDA 21 (agenda for the 21st century)

    United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development

    United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

    “Environment for Europe Programme”. later renamed “eco-forum” (or something similar)

    Issue groups to implement different EEP goals

    You can read the output of the issue groups at this website, among others, – http://www.ljudmila.org/retina/eco-forum/Welcome.htm
    there are more pages than at first glance, and the taxes and strategies! are all in there, including c02 tax, airport landing and take off tax, forcing people out of cars and aircraft and onto trains, car free cities, road tolls etc. Proposals from 1996 and earlier, just takes 10 years to work through the trans-national bureaucracy

  • Well the vox pop interviews on the Daily Politics and Sky are finding most people trashing this as just another excuse to tax people. This is rather encouraging. Alas the problem is the major parties are competing for the “brainless enviro idiocy” of year award for new ideas.

  • Tuscantony

    ..and the Daily Telegraph’s e-poll has 55% thinking the whole enviro-thing is overstated, which is pretty good bearing in mind the slant of much of the reporting on the subject.

  • Midwesterner

    There were vineyards as far north as York back in Roman times.

    Well, this proves it. The problem is obviously civilisation and advancing technology.

    (Don’t panic. I channeling the Al Gore.)

  • archduke

    “Vinyards in York eh? No-one said the wine was any good though and the romans would drink just about anything.”

    And Greenland was actually green when the Vikings landed there.

  • Nicholas Hallam

    I was just thinking that I cannot listen to the radio or open the paper without coming across another confirmation of global warming and was reminded of this passage in Popper’s “Conjectures and Refutations” :

    I found that those of my friends who were admirers of Marx, Freud, and Adler, were impressed by a number of points common to these theories, and especially by their apparent explanatory power. These theories appeared to be able to explain practically everything that happened within the fields to which they referred. The study of any of them seemed to have the effect of an intellectual conversion or revelation, opening your eyes to a new truth hidden from those not yet initiated. Once your eyes were thus opened you saw confirming instances everywhere: the world was full of verifications of the theory. Whatever happened always confirmed it. Thus its truth appeared manifest; and unbelievers were clearly people who did not want to see the manifest truth; who refused to see it, either because it was against their class interest, or because of their repressions which were still ‘un-analysed’ and crying aloud for treatment.

    The most characteristic element in this situation seemed to me the incessant stream of confirmations, of observations which ‘verified’ the theories in question; and this point was constantly emphasized by their adherents. A Marxist could not open a newspaper without finding on every page confirming evidence for his interpretation of history; not only in the news, but also in its presentation — which revealed the class bias of the paper — and especially of course in what the paper did not say. The Freudian analysts emphasized that their theories were constantly verified by their ‘clinical observations.’ As for Adler, I was much impressed by a personal experience. Once, in 1919, I reported to him a case which to me did not seem particularly Adlerian, but which he found no difficulty in analysing in terms ofhis theory of inferiority feelings, although he had not even seen the child. Slightly shocked, I asked him how he could be so sure. ‘Because of my thousandfold experience,’ he replied; whereupon I could not help saying: ‘And with this new case, I suppose, your experience has become thousand-and-one-fold.’

    In connection with “climate change” a Popperian might view the “the incessant stream of confirmations” as suspicious and wonder whether the theory is capable of accounting after the event for almost any climatic phenomena. What we should like to see are some specific predictions which if they are not confirmed would lead to the rejection of the theory.

    Consensus in science is a sociological phenomenon quite unconnected with truth, as even a superficial reading of the history of science shows. Occasional scientists may have been purely motivated by the disinterested pursuit of truth, but the bulk will always be drawn to the dominant view when that is the one generating the jobs and research grants.

  • nic

    Hehe, watch out, people who take that view are now accused of being “Popperazi” in some scientific circles! One of the problems with climate change as a theory is that the current prediction is a sort of “one shot” hypothesis. It is very difficult to demonstrate it happening using experimental data until it has already happened. It struggles, in that sense, in the same way as sociology- lack of experimental data in a setting divorced from all other variables.

  • Nicholas Hallam

    nic, if it is so divorced from empirical evidence that we can only judge it tens of years into the future, I fail to see what scientific authority it has. Presumably, though, there are some observational phenomena that the theory entails in the mean-time – e.g. atmospheric warming preceding surface warming, warming at the poles exceeding warming at the equator, strong correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature.

  • I have not seen much talk about making “UK PLC” more efficient.

    Given we have chronic waste in public services, 600,000 more logs of dead wood employed by Gordon, instead of taxing people why not reduce the “body count” in government? Oh no. Far too difficult for New Labour. Difficult, as in ideologically difficult. Taxing and controlling, however, are ideological OBJECTIVES.

  • guy herbert

    I have not seen much talk about making “UK PLC” more efficient.

    Well, let’s be thankful for that small comfort.

  • The sort of visceral trashing of Lomborg and anyone that believes like him is very dangerous to discourse. Alas, I think that is just what the Beeb and the Guardian want.

  • Freeman

    Matilda told such dreadful lies,
    It made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes . . .
    For every time she shouted “Fire!”
    They only answered “Little liar!”
    — Hilaire Belloc

    So Blair assured us there were WMDs in Iraq that were an immediate threat to us, and so we had to go to war. Now he brings up Stern, (an economist) to assure us that, despite a long term drift towards the next ice age, the earth is catastrophically heating up. But we need not be afraid: all we have to do is to accept higher “green” taxes and the government will make it better again.

    It makes me annoyed that all our mainstream politicians have ganged up against the people with this idiotic idea, especially when changes in solar output are not included in current climate change models.

    What further annoys is the inevitable outcome that the government will treat the so-called green taxes as additional revenue to be spent, wastefully, on statist programmes. In consequence, this tax revenue will circulate back into the economy and will ultimately have an impact on energy expenditure. The only difference will be that this will be government expenditure instead of personal expenditure.

    The one thing one can be certain of is that the country will not cut back carbon emissions by a target figure of 60% in advance of the development of electricity by fusion power.

    Finally, what convinces me that this is a big time political scam is that politicians are, for once, pretending to be concerned about matters outside the span of their term of office.

  • Phil A

    Leaving aside the fact that there is clearly a natural tendency to continuous climate variation over time much greater than we have seen in the last century or so – and leaving aside that records have largely been made since what was known as the “little ice age”, so it is hardly surprising that there is a fractional rise in global temperature of late.

    The drum “they” are beating however is a fictional scenario based on defective and inaccurate climate models.

    Finally they will hammer our taxes on vehicles and holidays but can you see the likes of two jags giving up his cars or the likes of Tony Chiantishire Blair giving up his hol’s – No way.

  • Tim Sturm

    The conclusions of the report don’t stand up to moment’s scrutiny:

    - Global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%
    - But taking action now would cost just 1% of global GDP

    Yeah, right! These “economists” are full of it.

  • Guy:Well, let’s be thankful for that small comfort.

    I was not suggesting the State does more, but does less with even less.

    A bloated and ossified system will do nobody any good. Our “efficiency” in industry will be for little if each worker is burdened by an inefficient State millstone.