Plan-B for the Climate, post Paris

The Cop in Paris has ended, and now we can reflect up on it to what it has brought us. After all the applause at the end of the conference, which they seem to manage to do at all the Cops, can we now go safely to sleep? It has brought us promises at national levels, but globally not much has been done. There’s no plan to take the highest CO2 emissions per capita down to an equal level of playing field,  there’s no global carbon tax, there’s no restrictions on airlines and shipping. All of that is happening while science is telling us that we’re heading towards a 3.5°C warming by 2100 with no temperature stabilization in sight. Sorry to be blunt but this Plan-A sucks, we need a Plan-B! After all the Cop’s we’ve had we can now agree that it’s impossible for all countries to agree on a plan that will be sufficient enough to keep us anywhere near 2.0°C.

In short, we need something that doesn’t involve all countries, we need something that is sufficient, we need to organise those countries that are willing to do what is needed, countries that see eye to eye. We need a new organisation that brings those countries together implementing the most efficient system to curb emissions, a unified and transparent carbon tax.

Some key points:

  • Brand new organisation.
  • Implement a fixed price on carbon emissions per tonne.
  • Implement fixed import carbon taxes on other countries.
  • All countries can join.
  • All countries can leave.
  • Decisions are made by a 2/3 majority.
  • Non members are put into a category of taxation giving them no benefit.
  • Countries decide them selves how to refund the tax (preferably to the needing).
  • The tax can’t be refunded back to the polluters.

Unlike what most people tend to think, even a few countries could start this off. Looking at the wealthy nations, countries like Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany spring to mind. With such a powerful alliance other European countries are sure to follow suit creating a domino effect that will eventually spread all over the world. Countries within the alliance can import and export goods with no additional carbon taxation. Countries outside of the alliance that are unwilling to pay for their emissions are forced to pay extra for their exported goods to the new alliance. Being part of the willing countries will have benefits that outweigh not being part of it.

A map showing the possible ripple effect.

map

The internal carbon tax could start at €20 per tonne and be increased with €10 per tonne each year until a satisfactory level is achieved ultimately resulting in a carbon free world. The carbon tax is raised when the polluter buys the fossil fuel. This generally means that we raise them at power stations and at the pump. International shipping and airlines also have to pay the tax for taking on fuel in these countries.

Okay, that’s all very nice, but how do we address unequal competition and ships and aircraft taking on fuel from other counties? Basically we just tax their goods and give them a penalty for giving low cost fuel to international transport. We can’t prohibit other countries from doing the things they do, but we can give them a little incentive to change their ways.

Depending on a countries energy mix (this is accountant stuff) a basic category of taxation can be applied to a country. Furthermore when a product is exceptionally environmentally friendly or unfriendly a bonus or a penalty can be applied.

Categorie Low Normal High
1 1% 2% 4%
2 2% 4% 8%
3 3% 6% 12%
4 4% 8% 16%
5 5% 10% 20%
6 6% 12% 24%
7 7% 14% 28%
8 8% 16% 32%
9 9% 18% 36%
10 10% 20% 40%

Summary

So yes, it’s possible to have a Plan-B running at the same time with Plan-A. Because we can’t afford to be in an “if” situation, it’s an “and” situation so we need both plans. Plan-B only regulates carbon while much more is needed, especially preservation of our forests and species on which we so much depend.

 

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