These people simply don\’t have the first clue:
In a report published today, the Committee on Climate Change has called for drastic action to curb the predicted growth in aviation including higher taxes on plane fares.
Holidaymakers are already facing sharp increase in Air Passenger Duty which, by the end of next year, will mean a family of four flying to America will pay £240 in tax, but according to the Committee even these increases are inadequate.
\”Air tickets are going to get a lot more expensive, but people will become a lot richer over the next 40 years. If you\’re going to constrain demand growth, you do need rising prices,\” said David Kennedy, the Committee\’s chief executive.
\”\”It\’s not that demand has to fall in order for us to meet the target, demand can increase but only in a limited way.\”
The Committee has said that the number of people flying to and from British airports should increase by no more than 60 per cent by 2050 for the Government to meet its target of ensuring that aviation\’s carbon emissions are no higher then than they were in 2005.
They\’ve failed at the very first hurdle: they simply do not understand the basics of what they\’re supposed to be pontificating upon.
We do not want to set sectoral limits on emissions. Yes, we want to reduce total emissions but we absolutely do not want to have targets for any specific sector. Because, whatever the limit on total emissions there is, we want to allocate those emissions to whatever activities produce the most value.
And that value is not to be determined by what others think we might value and most certainly not by what others think we should value. But by what we actually do value as shown by our own actions.
The whole point of either cap and trade or carbon taxation is that we encourage the reduction of emissions, yes. But it\’s also that we want the market to work. No, not some \”free market fairy\” that will make everything better. Just that individuals can decide which emissions are most valuable to them. Some might say that steak is the thing and consume their emissions as cow farts. Others might say that visiting Mum and Dad is and consume them as flights. Still others might think that a Lamborghini is the thing.
But that\’s what we\’re actually aiming for. That we reduce emissions at the least reduction in human happiness (or utility in the jargon).
So we don\’t want sectoral limits for it might well be (and we don\’t know which is why we don\’t want sectoral limits) that human happiness, as evinced by the decisions of individuals, is best advanced by no steak, no Lamborghinis and lots of flights. And it might not be of course. But the point is that we don\’t want either governments or bureaucrats or quangocrats telling us what we should be enjoying with our emissions: we should be deciding that, not them.
And given that the CCC has manifestly failed to understand this point then they\’re incompetent and should all be fired tout sweet.
Reducing emissions, fine, but that means sectoral shifts in emissions patterns as we work out which emissions we value most. Thus sectoral targets are exactly and precisely what we do not want. They are against the very idea of what we are trying to do.
(Plus, of course, aviation taxes are already higher than the damage the emissions do as per Stern\’s numbers.)