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Julia Hilton proposes introduction of UK wide Carbon Tax

Julia proposed a motion calling for the government to introduce a UK wide Carbon Tax combined with a citizens Carbon Dividend to make polluters pay. This was seconded by Councillor Heather Bishop and supported by Labour councillors but not the Conservatives.


The motion

‘Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere continue to rise despite international agreements. Whilst targets can serve a purpose, what has been lacking are mechanisms to drive down emissions quickly. Crucially, this means a Carbon Tax, given that ‘Cap and Trade’ systems have failed to drive the change we need.

The moral and economic case for such a tax rests on the ‘polluter pays’ principle:

  • Currently the costs of climate breakdown are not born by the industries and activities that are causing the damage but by people and communities coming under increasing pressure and danger. As The Economist leader states (17/7/21); ‘The opportunity to pollute the atmosphere without penalty is … a kind of distorting subsidy’.
  • A Carbon Tax, set at the right level, will drive fossil fuel burning out of the economy and promote investment in clean alternatives.
  • Applied at the border it will have the same effect internationally.

Such a tax can be used as a citizen’s dividend to ensure a just transition for communities facing rapid change, help pay for the essential retrofitting to our draughty cold housing stock and helping to alleviate fuel poverty, as well as to help communities around the world adapt to the inevitable change and disruption that climate breakdown is already bringing. It could also help finance a Universal Basic Income as passed by Hastings Borough Council at the last full council meeting.

This approach is supported by a broad coalition of NGOs and civil society groups and was recently included in a set of proposals from the European Commission. COP26 should establish an international carbon tax framework, but if this doesn’t happen, the UK and other countries wishing to show leadership should introduce their own carbon taxes. . By including border tax adjustment this can drive other economies to follow suit.

Therefore Council resolves to support calls for a Carbon Tax by;

Writing to our MPs, to Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and to the Prime Minister, calling for the UK to:

1.     propose an international carbon tax framework to the COP; the tax to be applied to imports  as well as to domestic production

2.     Introduce a UK-wide carbon tax by the end of 2022.’

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