Sigh

Won’t pay for carbon? Don’t fly then. Or, why Flybe will be history

Yes, that’s the point of a carbon tax, a Pigou Tax. To insist that the consumer pays the full cost of their consumption choices.

The suggested mechanism for saving Flybe is for it to be permitted to waive payments of air passenger duty owed to the government. Air passenger duty is the tax charged, in effect, to compensate for the externalities of flying and varies according to the flight taken. It is a very basic carbon levy.

It’s not a carbon levy, it’s a Pigou Tax.

Deferring or cancelling this payment does, of course, make no sense. This duty has already been collected by Flybe from its customers. It merely acts as an agent in collecting this sum.

Yes, quite so. It has already performed its function therefore. Which is to change the prices consumers pay in order that they face the full costs of their consumption.

What happens to that revenue is of secondary – possibly tertiary – importance. The job is done by getting costs into consumption decisions.

And now the stupidity which is a necessary component of any Murphesque:

So is Flybe over? Maybe not. I think carbon insolvency needs to be planned: transitions are required. A temporary stay of execution whilst alternatives are prepared may be appropriate. But, the key word is temporary. The carbon must be eliminated. If Flybe customers won’t pay the price of their pollution then their flights must end. All I would permit is an orderly winding up rather than an overnight cessation. But the game is over, come what may. This type of travel cannot survive in a net zero carbon environment.

But you’ve just told us that the FlyBe customers have paid the tax.

Blimey.

52 comments on “Sigh

  1. I don’t understand. I thought the purpose of a Pigou Tax was to pay for the externalities that are off-loaded on to ‘society’. Isn’t it akin to VAT were every stage of the chain of responsibility passes the money on to the Fat Controller in 11 Downing Street?

    If I’m reading you right, you are saying that Flybe can just trouser this money, diverting the payment to those responsible for cleaning up the damage to a middleman.

  2. But the game is over, come what may. This type of travel cannot survive in a net zero carbon environment.

    Bet The Fat Potato isn’t willing to trade his Berlingo in for a horse and cart. The “I don’t fly, therefore no one else needs to fly” attitude is just typical of the cunt. Fuck you Murphy, and fuck the hearse you rode in on.

  3. Again, on the steam wireless last night (More Or Less I think), somebody was asked “what does nett zero carbon mean?” and was told: “it means that all parts of the economy have to have zero carbon emissions”. Completely ignoring, or being wilfully ignorant – of what “nett” means.

  4. First of all, we aren’t talking about fucking Carbon are we? Carbon is a fucking element that exists in fucking solid form. It’s one of the most common fucking elements there are.

    What we are fucking talking about is fucking Carbon Dioxide. A fucking gas. A fucking trace gas. And not a fucking element.

    This is the whole tax avoidance/tax evasion thing again. We’ve got people who don’t know enough to use the proper terminology in describing a problem telling us the solution to that problem.

  5. This is a success right? The destruction of an airline by a tax?
    The Gerbil Warblers keep telling us we must stop flying.
    So the Government will be celebrating this victory, won’t they?
    /s

    Coming soon: a ban on gas boilers, followed by a hypothermia epidemic. Helping the NHS perhaps?

  6. It’s not to pay for the externalities, no. It’s so that the consumer pays for the externalities.

    we have some stuff going on. If the people doing it are paying the full cost of what they’re doing then fine.

    But when they’re not paying that full cost, well, then it’s artificially cheap to them. People do more of cheaper things. Say, they’re not paying the cost of their pollution.

    So, tax the thing. Make them pay the full costs. Now we’ve got the correct amount of this thing happening. By definition it must be value adding because people still buy it, the value to them is greater than those total – including the pollution – costs of production.

    This achieved by the tax itself, not the revenue. You could burn the money and it would still work.

    Now, obviously, that we’ve got revenue is nice and we need to get revenue from somewhere so don;t burn it. But the tax works by changing the price paid, the revenue isn’t the important part of it at all.

  7. Spud’s brave new world….

    “But the reality is most air travel will cease”

    He’s mad.

    I’m flying to Portugal in March. Me and 5 mates. 4 days 3 nights, piss-up and golf. Couldn’t give a poop about how many CO2s that’ll chuck into the atmosphere.

  8. The misconception is to regard CO2 as pollution, thereby incurring an externality.
    It isn’t. CO2 is plant food. It’s emission is beneficial.
    People should be paid to create it, not penalised.

  9. This achieved by the tax itself, not the revenue. You could burn the money and it would still work.

    What’s the “acceptable” range of atmospheric CO2 expressed in PPM?

    What level of taxation is required to get atmospheric CO2 from where it is now to the “acceptable” range?

    Please show your work.

    If you can’t, well then we aren’t really talking about a Pigou Tax, are we? We’re talking about the levying of a fine. So, other than not actually doing anything other than making consumers poorer, this tax does nothing. Right? Because actually burning other peoples’ money is what we are really talking about.

  10. He’s certainly illustrated with this post and his defence of Extinction Rebellion that he is a totalitarian of rare viciousness. Hopefully he can be eliminated as part of the required purge on Socialists which we are hoping will follow changes to the electoral system being planned. He really has nothing useful to contribute to society as a whole, and frankly this kind of bullshit is getting a bit tedious

  11. Timmy,

    I think a major issue with Pigovian taxes on airlines – not just establishing a Stern-style price for the emissions, not just taking into account the way aircraft affect the atmosphere by flying at altitude means their “effective” CO2 emissions are different to what you’d measure in their exhaust – is that it’s a bummer to make consumers on a particular flight pay the correct price for that flight.

    IIRC flybe’s complaint is that domestic flyers pay the tax on both halves of their journey, but international flyers pay the tax on the outward leg but not on the inward leg (since the UK bills for departing flights but not arriving ones). So, they would argue, domestic and furrin flights should be taxed differently.

    But the other thing is that it seems to be a flat rate. Presumably if the UK applied a tax on flights to Oz based on the CO2-equivalent emissions of a flight to Oz, what you get is lots of people hopping on a flight from London to Amsterdam or Frankfurt and catching a flight to Oz from there. A flat rate isn’t Pigovian because a Pigovian tax should internalise what would otherwise be the external cost of the particular flight, whereas a flat rate penalises higher-emitting long-haul and lower-emitting short-haul flights equally. The best and simplest thing to do in principle would presumably be to tax the fuel itself but that’s not much of a runner in aviation.

    I wonder whether the government might “solve” the flybe question by switching to a more closely Pigovian solution for domestic flights, based on estimated emissions per passenger for particular flights (based on mileage/airtime or whatever), since domestic flights are presumably less susceptible to consumers just choosing to go via Amsterdam instead. Conveniently for flybe, this might well mean lower taxes for the domestic network…

  12. And isn’t UK petrol already priced higher than needed to account for externalities? So the “correct” price for car fuel is lower than what it currently is.

    (Dunno about aviation, as other than aviation fuel being untaxed (‘cos of messy cross-border stuff) I don’t know much of the details.)

  13. Yes. And I’m the bloke who made the calculation and the point. About a decade back petrol tax was already 11 p per litre too high.

  14. Externalities of car journeys include particulate emissions and attendant health issues, not just the carbon/climate stuff, so in principle that should be added on too – not sure if anyone has done a Stern style calculation for the externalities though?

  15. ‘Yes, that’s the point of a carbon tax, a Pigou Tax. To insist that the consumer pays the full cost of their consumption choices.’

    Bullshit. It’s a tax. Government gets money. That’s it. Period. The end.

  16. @ Dennis
    What is the difference between a Pigou tax and a fine? (apart from the ridiculous level of some fines e.g. for dropping litter)

  17. Given the uncertainty of the impact of human CO2 emissions, anywhere from benign to we’re all going to fry, how did you manage to make the calculations, Tim?

  18. FlyBe used to argue that their emissions per mile were lower because they mostly used prop planes rather than jets, so on the greenies’ own arguments they should pay less. Don’t know if there’s any truth in that.

  19. I think Tim calculated that, given Stern’s claimed need for a ‘carbon’ tax of ~£60/tonne CO2, car fuel is already over-taxed.

  20. John77
    Dropping litter should be heavily fined: it’s a disgusting, anti-social habit. Emitting plant food should not be fined or taxed at all.

  21. @ Dennis, advocate of cannibalism
    When I bake a fruit-cake it is intended to be eaten (by me and, usually, others).
    Climate change in the UK during my lifetime is easily observable: white Christmases were normal in my youth and when I was 20 we had snow into the second half of April.
    What should be debated is not whether the climate has changed but whether any of this change is due to human action and, if so, how much. We do not want to descend to the level of the lefties who simply lie about stuff in order to generate claims about what the government should do. Hence Tim’s advocacy of a carbon tax that would deal with the alleged human impact on “global warming”.
    FYI: the basic English fruit cake does not include nuts – it is the (Scottish) Dundee Cake that is (partially) covered in nuts.

  22. Here you go again. You know fine well you can’t fight a crazy self-flagellating hair shirt human guilt ideology with a sin tax. Stop flogging the equine, it is beyond hope.

  23. What is the difference between a Pigou tax and a fine?

    One: The externality can be accurately quantified, measured and monitored.
    Two: There is a proven direct link between the externality and the stated problem at hand.

    Taxing atmospheric emissions of CO2 fails the test of a Pigou Tax because while CO2 can be accurately quantified, measured and monitored, there is no proven direct link between elevated levels of CO2 and an increase in the average global temperature (“global warming”, “climate change”).

    Correlation is not causation.

  24. When I bake a fruit-cake it is intended to be eaten (by me and, usually, others).

    OK, well, that’s your first mistake.

  25. What should be debated is not whether the climate has changed but whether any of this change is due to human action and, if so, how much.

    Until there is definitive proof that elevated levels of CO2 cause an increase in the average global temperature there is no point in debating human agency. If there is no provable link between CO2 levels and average global temperature, debating humanity’s role in increasing CO2 levels is beyond pointless.

  26. “Climate change in the UK during my lifetime is easily observable”

    Bullshit. London, and the rest of England, has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb ), and has for over a hundred years.

    YOUR CLIMATE HAS NOT CHANGED!

  27. If you are going to levy a pigou tax for CO2 emissions, does that mean we need a licence to breathe?
    Do we get a bounty for killing untaxed wildlife?
    And who pays for the volcanoes?

  28. Every breath I take, every bit of CO2 emitted in my name, goes to restore the Earth’s atmosphere towards the optimum level of CO2. Right now it is lower than it has been for most of history. And if it gets warmer, well warmer is better. M. Pigou owes me money.

  29. Climate change in the UK during my lifetime is easily observable: white Christmases were normal in my youth and when I was 20 we had snow into the second half of April.

    What you are describing is a change in weather, not climate.

    As Timmy would say: Sigh.

  30. @Tim “…but dim” Worstall January 14, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    A Pigou Tax?

    No

    But the tax works by changing the price paid, the revenue isn’t the important part of it at all.

    Really?

    In 2011, the Treasury launched a consultation on potential revisions to Air Passenger Duty. In their consultation they stated “Air passenger duty is primarily a revenue raising duty which makes an important contribution to the public finances, whilst also giving rise to secondary environmental benefits”

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120503142001/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/condoc_responses_air_passenger_duty.pdf

    In 2013 a study by PwC, ‘The Economic Impact of Air Passenger Duty’, found that ….abolishing APD could pay for itself, through increased Government revenue from other sources primarily due to business growth achieved through the benefits brought by abolishing APD.

    http://airlinesuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/APD-study-Abridged.pdf

    http://www.afairtaxonflying.org/getthefacts/

    @Dennis, Tim the Coder, Gamecock, rhoda

    Agree, spot on

  31. “white Christmases were normal in my youth”

    depends where you are of course. Since 1960 ee have had a white Christmas in the south of England:

    1964
    1968
    1970
    1975
    1980
    1991
    1994
    1997
    2000
    2002

  32. @Tim “…but dim” Worstall

    By supporting ‘Carbon’ taxes, and thus Man Made Global Warming (AGW) you are encouraging and supporting evil nutters like the women in this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8t7uFD9FRQ

    @MBE

    Walking, cycling, washing… creates particulate emissions and attendant health issues.

    £1 per mile cycling/walking tax?

    @john77 January 14, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    As Gamecock, January 14, 2020 at 5:14 pm says:

    Bullshit

  33. It’s £13 if you’re on a flight to North Africa or Turkey, same as a flight from Newcastle to Bristol. It’s charged per passenger, not per seat, so a 1/2 occupancy flight which uses 3/4 the fuel (say) pays half the tax. And it wasn’t intended to restrain CO2 emissions when it came in. It’s intent is as a revenue raiser as Pcar pointed out.
    If it is a Pigou tax, he’d be turning in his grave. The Pigou charge would be on the airlines and based on fuel used. Imv, of course.

  34. @ Gamecock
    There are climate records for the UK covering all of my lifetime and more. The UK has moved from a cool temperate climate to a warmer temperate climate. That is a verifiable fact.

  35. @ Dennis Gourmand but not gourmet
    Eating my fruit cake is not a mistake – maybe you should take cookery lessons if eating yours would be.

  36. @Andrew c “I’m flying to Portugal in March. Me and 5 mates.” There’s your misunderstanding of the potato right there. He’s got no mates and even he wouldn’t mingle with the sycophants that post on his blog.

  37. Don’t the greenies argue there should be no marginal social cost from flying so either the tax is sufficiently high to reduce flying to zero or the tax raised should be used to reduce the impacts of the marginal social costs again to zero (carbon offsets etc)?

  38. ‘There are climate records for the UK covering all of my lifetime and more. The UK has moved from a cool temperate climate to a warmer temperate climate. That is a verifiable fact.’

    We have weather records. ‘Climate records’ is stupid.

  39. @Tim “…but dim” Worstall

    By supporting ‘Carbon’ taxes, and thus Man Made Global Warming (AGW) you are encouraging and supporting Extinction Rebellion

    Priti Patel defends decision to add Extinction Rebellion to anti-terrorism watch list

    @Andrew C

    and 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2014 here oop north; but not 1968, 70 and 75 when in NI

    However, in 1995 roses were still in flower at Christmas here oop north; then two weeks later it hit -17c one night

    @john, the whole point of the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is it being unusual

    @Gamecock January 14, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    Agree

  40. @ |Andrew C
    I said “in my youth” – I left school in 1963 and you start in 1964 so your list is not relevant except to the extent that it shows a “White Christmas” is now rare. If I have to walk through snow to church on Christmas morning, that counts as a White Christmas to me. Even on its own method of counting the frequency has declined from 7 (or more probably 10 depending on whether you include 1951-4) mentioned in the 16 years prior to 1963 to NIL, on your count, in the last 16 years
    https://www.netweather.tv/weather-forecasts/uk/winter/winter-history
    Ask any honest statistician (e.g. one not employed the Grauniad) and he/she will tell you that two groups one of which shows 7, let alone 10, positives out of 16 and the other which shows nil positives out of 16 are very likely to come from different populations at the 99% confidence level.

  41. @ Gamecock
    The standard phrase is now “climate record”: “weather record” includes wind speed and direction, precipitation and range of visibility/fog as well as temperature. All you need to look at in this context is the climate record.

  42. “All you need to look at in this context is the climate record.”

    Bullshit. I refuse to accept bastardization of the language. You can be assimilated. I can’t.

  43. As every scientifically literate person (regardless of gender) knows, gaseous carbon dioxide is a critical part of the Carbon Cycle which supports life on Earth. This is why, for example, some greenhouses purchase CO2 and pipe it in to enrich the atmosphere inside the greenhouse, enhance the growth rate of plants, and thereby reduce human hunger. What is not clear, even after all the taxpayer-supported “research” into “climate change” is what is the optimum concentration of the trace gas CO2 in the atmosphere. There are some indications from history that the optimum level may be higher than today’s level.

    Obvious question — can we have a negative Pigou Tax?

    If more CO2 in the atmosphere would be beneficial to everyone, then surely those brave souls who risk flying or driving an SUV should be rewarded for doing so. Maybe a tax credit for every mile those gallant people fly?

  44. @Pcar

    Question of magnitude though. Breathing, cycling etc is a whole order of magnitude below driving. Some externalities are so small it just doesn’t make sense to apply a Pigovian tax. Driving and aviation are on a much larger scale though…

    @Bongo

    Yes this is my problem with the current set-up too. I agree with Pcar that the current form isn’t really a “green” tax anyway. But that’s why I wonder if the government might try to turn it into one, to kill several birds with one stone…

  45. @John77

    When I was a youth, 1990 or so (well I was 30, a youth compared to what I am today), it was “global warming”.

    It was “global warming” because that was the simple to describe cause and effect from increasing CARBON DIOXIDE (quite right Dennis, it irritates the fuck out of me too!)

    I distinctly recall being told that I would be spending my golden years among olive groves and orange trees). Still waiting and will be in a hundred years!

  46. In my childhood/adolescence, 1977, 1983 and 1987 were fucking parky. In ’87 the school pond froze to the bottom. That requires multiple weeks of subzero. We had a huge bonfire right in the middle and it melted maybe an inch of the ice. Everyone bangs on about 1947 and 1963 but the point about those years is they were abnormal.

  47. @john77

    Whoosh

    The whole point of the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is it being unusual

    @MBE

    You’re equating some people driving/flying for a few hours per day with all people breathing, walking, cycling, washing, cooking, heating….

    Sure, the drive/fly per hour by a few may be high. However, is it significantly higher per person per day than the rest of the 7.5bn who don’t?

    Seems you’re in agreement with the terrorist XR and mad tree women who believe global human population should be zero to <1bn

    @Mark

    +1

    I'm still waiting for the "Mediterranean Dry Hot Summers" (inc planting banana trees) BBC Gardening programmes promised were soon in mid/late 1990's onwards

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