There is a growing credibility gap between the seriousness of what we seem to be doing to our planet, and the green discourse and solutions offered. The challenge of saving our pied-à-terre is too big to allow the efforts needed to fall in the hands of other political agendas or pure rent-extracting environmentalism. To stand a chance we need to question all green proposals, without falling prey to a misguided sense of green solidarity. Stop the green waste!
Let us suppose a hefty carbon and gas tax was levied and all its revenues distributed equally among all citizens... like helping to fund a Universal Basic Income Something along the lines of Climate Leadership Council's proposed Carbon Dividends Would that help the environment? Of course it would! Would that help to reduce inequalities? Of course it would!
Such ideas have been proposed but why do they not get sufficient social traction?
The climate-change-fight profiteers, those so abundant in the frontlines of all environmental concerns, do not find that to be in their best interests.
The redistribution profiteers, those so abundant in the frontlines of all social concerns, and the political power grabbers, do not find that to be in their best interest.
Tell me, what do we do? A revenue neutral carbon tax is surely more important for the health of our planet than a couple of quite wishy washy Paris agreements.
Sir, Jude Webber writes about the horrible pollution caused by the excessive number of cars in Mexico City (“Corruption and car fumes clog up the capital”, Notebook, May 26) and proposes that eliminating corruption in emission testing could be an important part of solving this. Fat chance! As a Venezuelan, I know that this is not a viable route.
Ms Webber writes: “Mexicans are snapping up cars as fast as the world’s seventh largest producer can churn them out . . . Domestic consumption is the engine of economic growth so there is no official incentive to dissuade people from buying Mexican-built cars and associated products such as petrol.”
That’s really not the case. You must build up the right political and economic incentives to correct for it. If Mexico imposed carbon tax, petrol tax and a strong traffic toll system, and made sure all the revenues from it were immediately returned to the economy by means of a universal basic income, you would face a different reality. Then you would have aligned the incentives for pollution control and the fight against climate change with the fight against inequality, and that makes for a very powerful alliance.
Standing in the way, besides initial protests from car owners, would be the redistribution profiteers who would miss a chance to make political and economic capital. Just as in Venezuela.
Initiatives to better the environment or fight climate change is something serious enough, and need to be that and nothing more. These should not be taken as an opportunity for pork barrel politics, like for all types of NGOs to hang on to it their special wishes and issues.
The more pork that is added the lesser the chance of reaching a global consensus.
Note: Not one single of the comments that follows is intended to diminish in any way or form the responsibility of Volkswagen for an incredibly unethical and criminal behavior. And of course Martin Winterkorn the CEO, as well as many other of Volkswagen must resign, even if not indicted by any malfeasance. Otherwise the not knowing what others were doing, could become a CEO’s and others prime responsibility... BUT:
How on earth did not emission controllers discover it all earlier?... after 11 million cars?... is there no real road driving control on each year models?... or did they have a software for that to.
We might have to be thankful for these treacherous/criminal (though quite ingenious) programmers since now the whole system of controlling emission might be revised in time.
Of course those responsible in Volkswagen should be fired and probably put in jail... but And what about those 11 million cars’ emission controllers fooled... should they not resign and at least be publicly shamed too?
But, what if those emission criteria are wrong and give us unnecessarily expensive cars? Should we then not appreciate what VW is doing?
Frankly, with emission controllers like these, global warming seems so much real and so much closer... and we're toast.
Where can I find an emission control App, so that I do not have to pay emission control inspectors for a shoddy job?
PS. If any little shady car manufacturer had come up with this in order to trick his local emission controllers, few would have taken much notice… but, for Volkswagen to do this in Europe, gosh that is indeed a potent signal! Thanks VW J
PS. Anyone who imposes regulations that can be gamed is the wrongdoer's best friend.
PS. Volkswagen turned EU's binding emission targets' control, which could be gamed, into a competitive advantage JYou developers of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals' the SDGs' controlling instruments... consider yourself having been clearly warned.