Yes Spud, quite so

Richard Murphy says:
February 6 2020 at 4:21 pm
Internalising the externality is exactly what this is all about

Which is why every economist screams that we should have a carbon tax. Because that’s the way you internalise externalities.

67 thoughts on “Yes Spud, quite so”

  1. The results of some thinking this morning:
    “Green energy/renewables” owe fuck all to the “Green Agenda”
    Wind power has been around centuries before fossil fuel energy. Fossil fuel energy supplanted it because it was more reliable & effective. The big wind turbines now supplying the grid have become possible due to material science. Lightweight composites developed for the aviation industry amongst others. And advances in generator technology. All of this was in the pipeline long before the climate change hysteria. Eventually, wind power generation would have been economically viable with or without the drive for ‘”green energy”. So would have been introduced. The subsidies just meant it got introduced before it was economical & wasted a great deal of resources & endeavour.
    Ditto photovoltaics. They’re implicit in semi-conducter tech. I can remember playing around with them in the early 70s when the climate experts were predicting the coming Ice Age. Turning sunlight into electricity was always going to be an attractive independent source of energy. You railroad when railroad time comes. But same as above.
    Battery tech. Developed for portable electronics. Owes nothing to the ‘Green Energy” drive. Although subsidised uneconomically viable electric cars have been on the road for a while, now.
    Biofuels? Better to not go there.
    So the majority of economists reckon carbon taxes are a good idea?
    To achieve what?

  2. Internalising the externality is exactly what this is all about

    I think that proves the Potato is anally retentive, as we always suspected

  3. Agreed that all of the technologies were in the pipeline. Lomborg made the point about solar in 1998 for example.

    So, this?

    “So the majority of economists reckon carbon taxes are a good idea?”

    It – slightly – changes the point at which rolling out the new technologies is sensible.

    Here are the costs of fossil fuels. But that doesn’t include this, CO2, form of pollution. Add that in with the carbon tax. Good, now we’ve total costs of fossil fuels, everyone has to pay the true total cost.

    Over here we’ve got the falling costs of renewables. That’s good. At some point they’re going to take over where they can/it makes sense/ they’re economic.

    OK. What’s the definition of economic? When their total costs are cheaper than the total costs of the alternatives.

    Now we’ve set up the price system so that people will move to renewables when they’re economic. As we know they will be at some future date. we’re done, problem solved.

    The amount of climate change we get before using renewables, well, that also means we’re not making ourselves poorer by having renewables before their time. We’ve optimised the transition that is. Our carbon tax is at that cost of the damages that the emission cause after all.

    Do note one more thing. The carbon tax also includes the carbon costs of those renewables. We get to see their full and total cost as well. Thus Drax doesn’t burn N American forest chips, Europe doesn’t drive entirely stupid ethanol blended fuels etc.

    We get none of the political planning mistakes and the right amount of climate change. We’re done.

  4. Yes, yes, we get the point about Pigou taxes. But using ‘climate change’ and a ‘ necessary’ carbon tax as an example is a stupid idea because of points I made in an earlier comment. The greenie won’t listen as it doesn’t meet their aspirations, and us ‘ sceptics’ won’t listen because we believe it pointless. I would also venture to suggest that there is a net benefit from CO2 – it’s not pollution. In that case, who is going to pay us the required negative carbon tax?

  5. A couple of questions:
    Are the taxes / duties levied on fossil fuels (FF) and spent by government deducted in the cost comparison between FF and renewables?

    Where are they going to get their income from when there are no FF cars/power generation/North Sea oilfields etc?

  6. ‘Because that’s the way you internalise externalities.’

    No, it’s a way for government to exploit alleged externalities to raise taxes.

    Killing your people with a ban on fossil fuels – or killing them by making it too expensive for anyone to use – leaves them equally dead.

    Taking half measures saves no one. Kill your people. Or don’t.

  7. Carbon taxes have been introduced in various countries and are soon to come to others. In any of those countries, a single one, has the government stopped arseing with other climate interventions and left it to the carbon-taxed market to sort things out? If not (and surprise! – it’s not) then the carbon tax is pointless.

    The real economic externality we face is the eternal one – the stationary bandits; the ghastly assembly of moochers and controllers who’ll bleed us dry if we give them the means.

    A carbon tax not only fails to stop the ideologues and spongers and plain old nasties, it actively enables them.

  8. Tim is spot on imv. May be it could be explained better, but the principle is right and I wish the people calling him some kind of double-agent troller would make their position clear.
    Are they disagreeing with the principle of Pigou taxes
    Or disagreeing with the calculation in the case of net CO2 emissions from human activity where there are benefits to gradually higher temperature, wetter climate and greener growth as well as dis-benefits if we drive up the CO2 ppm too fast, and they think the calculation of the net costs are lower, negative or just unknowable.

    I’m speculating that if the C concentration by mass in the world’s atmosphere went in one decade to the concentration in the world as a whole, so from the current 110 per mill to about 300 per mill, then we’d be in for some shocking and disastrous changes. If we got there over a million years it could be net beneficial as there’s plenty of time to adapt. There’s a rate of increase in between that might be optimal.

  9. If you don’t understand English, Bongo, we can’t help you, the comments are very clear as to where people stand.

  10. @ TimW 12:02pm
    Yes, Tm. Standard economist’s reasoning. Except when you fuck with the price people switch over to the succeeding tech it’s still not as efficient as the old. We lose that benefit. We all get poorer. So what is the value of the carbon not emitted? You don’t know, do you? Nobody knows. It’s all made up figures.
    As I said above. We’d be getting all this low carbon emitting tech about now, anyway. None of it has come about as a response to climate hysteria. It’s come about because at a certain level of technology it’s cheaper to use the tech than buy & burn fossil fuels. The problem’s solved or being solved. So what does your carbon tax achieve apart from making people poorer?
    And don’t give me revenue neutral. Maynard Keynes & counter-cyclic spending. Doesn’t survive collision with politicians. Sure, they borrow & spend in the bust. And carry on borrowing & spending in the boom. Revenue neutral is a pipe dream. It’ll just be an excuse to squeeze the pips a bit harder with a sell-able alibi.

  11. @Bongo
    “Are they disagreeing with the principle of Pigou taxes”

    Yep. Classic’s the London Congestion Charge the ASI was so keen on. Anybody drove in London watched it happen. The congestion didn’t change. What happened was it priced some people off the road. To be replaced by other people. Less office cleaners drove to work. More bankers (& no doubt ASI fellows) used their cars. The actual limit on congestion is the value of time stuck in traffic jams. Less, the less you value your time. Tends to be the people make a city functional. Net result; it just made London a rather nastier place to be.

  12. Dennis, Climate-Change Denying Fruitcake

    Climate change is neither a scientific nor economic issue. It is a political issue. If climate change was truly a scientific issue, there would be bipartisan support for carbon taxes and nuclear power. There isn’t. There is left-wing support for increased government power of the citizenry and nothing more. I repeat: Nothing more.

    Applying an economic tool to advance a scientific solution to a political problem is worse than ineffectual… it is counterproductive.

    Speaking in generalities, economists have a weakness for attempting to apply nice, neat, logical apolitical economic solutions to political problems that have little or nothing to do with economics.

    Does anyone really thing people like Richard Murphy, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and Al Gore really give a shit about climate change? Of course not. They give a shit about (1) advancing their own personal interests, and (2) gaining control over other people.

    Wake up on this, Timmy. You want to use the wrong tool to fix the wrong problem.

  13. Dennis, Who Is Happily Not An Even-Toed Ungulate

    Talking crap is externalising the internality.

    Interesting insight.

  14. Bongo

    I remember William Connolley on here (usefully) trying to help draw attention to the relevance, on this subject, between science, economics and politics.

    A key issue is politics, as others repeatedly point out. We all understand where Tim comes from, but you’re dealing with a quite different breed, and those taking advantage of positions such as Tim’s will simply gulp it whole, belch / fart it out and then demand more, ad nauseum. It’s the same strategy the left takes with most stuff.

    And that’s before one gets anywhere near considering the (genuine) reliability of all aspects of the scientific predictions (and hence the validity of such economics).

  15. You can’t set a tax rate unless you can quantify the externality. Nobody can do that. The externality of Carbon Emission is somewhere between -a very large number and +a very large number. It may well be negative due to beneficial externalities if you balance up the likes of a few coral atolls doing an Atlantis versus global exchange of goods and services.

    I can’t think of anything sillier than trying to disrupt the carbon cycle, of which emissions is just one step.

  16. Pigouvian taxes produce revenue for the government.

    Pigou noted that some activities created costs for other people (externalities). Note that Pigouvian taxes DO NOT PAY THESE PEOPLE FOR THEIR COSTS. The money goes to government. The costs for other people are still their costs.

    The theory goes on that the higher price for the product produced by the Pigouvian tax will result in lower consumption. While costs for other people continue, in theory there will be less cost due to lower consumption. Again, their costs aren’t covered: government gets the money.

    Tim’s Magic Pigou Tax can’t solve the alleged climate crisis because it can’t stop the use of fossil fuels. Government gets more money; people carry on. Plants lap up the extra CO2; Scotland has nice summers. A warmer world is a better world for humans (that’s us).

    So, Pigouvian taxes and carbon dioxide emissions:

    o People allegedly hurt by CO2 emissions don’t get the money, they still hurt.

    o High taxes can’t end use of fossil fuels – without them, you die. Carbon emissions are LIFE. Without them, you die. The ultimate price inelasticity.

    o The climate catastrophe bullshit fails to appreciate Man’s ability to adapt. WE GOT THIS SAME SHIT FROM MALTHUS 200 YEARS AGO. “Those who don’t know history . . . .”

    o The absolute biggest known threat for Man in the coming millennia is a COLDER world – a return of the ice age. NYC was under a mile of ice only 11,000 years ago. Our understanding of the cycles of glaciation says we are due.

    o Climate change is the deification of Man. We have no more power over the weather than King Canute over the tides.

    o On the science, a graph of atmospheric CO2 concentration and global mean temperature since 1979* shows double-ought zero correlation. CO2 as a driver of GMT is falsified.

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” ― Albert Einstein

    Man made global warming is proven wrong.

    *We have no real data from before 1979

  17. Dennis as usual hits the nail on the head. The climate change story is that of a bunch of “solutions” (more control, more government spending, yet another try at socialism) looking round for a “problem”and finding one. None of the players are interested in solutions aren’t the aforementioned. You just have to look at the gloom last week’s news was received. That a large proportion of emitted CO² was ending up in increased “greening”. Anyone else would regard this as good news. But not the climate doom mongers. “There’s less CO² in the atmosphere than we expected! Bwaaa! Bad plants!”

  18. There is something Promethean – or do I mean Sisyphean? or possibly Procrustean, in all of this.

    Or maybe it’s just sophisticated thieves’ cant: I need your money, your wealth, to save the planet. From people who’ve never learned the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’.

    Most fundamentally, this is about poetry and legend, virtue and heroism, though. So whilst I am happy to concede a place for flinging loose stools back at the idiots wot flung them in the first place, I do think the wider, deeper and better response lies in the stiffening of sinews and the summoning-up of blood. This is an eternal struggle and intellectual horsepower is no replacement for good bone structure, and er …

    Anyway, in short, “sod off, because your prodnose is about to smash into my busy, productive fist. Now go and do something useful, like make me some yoghurt and mix it with some of that lovely Hackney rooftop-grown honey. And here’s 75p for your trouble. Prat”.

  19. Just to emphasise a point made above by Gamecock; a Pigovian tax priced at the cost of externalities will not be at the same level as a tax priced to reduce the externality to zero. The two prices are not coupled.

    E.g. the sale of boomboxes causes an externality (neighbours with sleepless nights due to noise). This has some net cost to the economy. The tax designed to prevent this externality has to reduce sales of boomboxes to such an extent that either (a) revenue raised equals the externalised cost or (b) reduces sales of boomboxes to zero to negate the externality.

    Pigovian taxes are invariably claimed to be intended to achieve (b) since governments do not desire to give the tax money to those suffering the externality. They want to spend it on other things.

    So the whole thing is a nonsense.

  20. The government’s actual approach is to ban it. Not tax it to death, but ban it. A more noble way.

    Net Zero People 2050

    Except they aren’t banning it. They are banning it for a generation out. Intellectually hilarious.

  21. Tim – even I, unskilled in economics as I am, can see that your economic analysis is up the spout.

    The issue should be quite straightforward. What is the cost of having increased amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, and how do we then pay these costs.

    Try as I might, I can find NO clear statement of what the costs might be. The Stern Review has major failings, but even that indicates that the effect is beneficial over decades, if not hundreds of years, and can only suggest that there are negatives assuming that people go on behaving exactly as they do today, with no mitigation or new technology, for hundreds of years. And even those assumptions are now being proven false.

    So the economic data I want to see is the total, well-verified, short-term cost of increased CO2. Then I’ll tell you how best to pay for it…..

  22. “Tim – even I, unskilled in economics as I am, can see that your economic analysis is up the spout.”

    Which is pretty good, given that you’ve entirely missed what the economists are trying to say.

    We’re not trying to pay for climate change. Not in the slightest. We’re trying to have the right amount of climate change.

    Sure there are benefits to it. Lower heating bills, more plant life, all that. There are costs too – beachfronts migrate perhaps. OK. Those costs aren’t currently in the price system. Therefore markets aren’t working properly in balancing costs and benefits. True, many of the benefits aren’t either.

    So, stick a crowbar into the price system and we’ll get the right amount.

    What happens to the money once paid doesn’t matter in the slightest. We want to change prices, that’s all we want to do.

  23. ‘What happens to the money once paid doesn’t matter in the slightest. We want to change prices, that’s all we want to do.’

    Then stop talking about ‘externalities.’

    You are using it as propaganda to get people to accept the higher taxes. Be honest and say you want to increase taxes on fossil fuels to reduce their consumption. You want to reduce consumption cos reasons.

  24. Come off it, Gamecock. Tom’s problem here is he can’t resist being clever, rolling with the punches in order to enjoy the big K.O., all the more. From time to t, we all do it.

    Ian B, nice to see you making a more frequent appearance. Be pleasant to hear your views sometime on the current state of the puritan madness.

  25. “Be honest and say you want to increase taxes on fossil fuels to reduce their consumption. You want to reduce consumption cos reasons.”
    Dunno what Tim wants to do, but governments want to increase taxes, period. Everything else is excuses.
    What I don’t see is why he wants to hand them the excuses.

  26. @Edward Lud

    As to the puritan madness it’s now so obvious that even anti-SJWs on Twitter are switching from “SJW” to “Puritan”. I take a minor pride in being early to the recognition of the real problem party when most everyone else was still banging on about cultural marxists.

  27. @ Tim….

    “……We’re not trying to pay for climate change. Not in the slightest. We’re trying to have the right amount of climate change. Sure there are benefits to it. Lower heating bills, more plant life, all that. There are costs too – beachfronts migrate perhaps. OK. Those costs aren’t currently in the price system. Therefore markets aren’t working properly in balancing costs and benefits. True, many of the benefits aren’t either………”.

    Which is, I think, what I was trying to say.

    What is the ‘right’ amount of climate change? That’s rather like asking what the ‘correct’ temperature of the Earth is. No one knows – which is why I asked for the ‘correct’ cost to get us there. No one knows that either.

    Your suggestion of simply shoehorning in the estimated externality cost is simply playing into the hands of the activists. It is, in fact. already being done. A cost of “extra CO2” is simply estimated by lobbyists and used to justify taxpayer spend on wind and solar generation. Any figure, reasonable or not, can be adduced as a ‘cost’ of ‘climate change’. And, as you say, the benefits are simply ignored. And large sums of money are wasted on policies which damage individuals and nations.

    Our problem here is one well known in economics. It is that of the ‘ideal’ market. If people are given all the data then in theory they should be able to chose an ideal balance between the benefits they want and the price they are willing to pay. That is why climate scientists are very anxious NOT to provide all the data to the people, and instead pretend that the science is all proven, and unequivocally shows that disaster will occur.

    If the people could see the science, and realise that the hypotheses are provably incorrect, and that, even if they were correct, they would be predicting that average temperatures would shift over a century to those experienced a few tens of miles nearer the equator, they might not be willing to spend so much money in ruining their lifestyles and their nations wealth…

  28. Anyone got an example of a Pigou tax that worked sufficiently well for the government to classify that problem as requiring no further action? If not, they don’t bloody work, do they?

  29. I dragged a kicking swamp donkey off a tube train

    It’s easy.

    Those people struggle to remove the lid from a jam jar. Even after you’ve explained to them wot water does.

  30. Dennis, He Who Has A Degree In Economics

    We’re not trying to pay for climate change. Not in the slightest. We’re trying to have the right amount of climate change.

    First of all, the statement is ludicrous on its face. You haven’t a clue what the “right” amount of climate change is. Nobody does. To suggest otherwise is to appropriate for yourself the sort of intellectual omnipotence that is the preserve of such universal geniuses as Richard Murphy. Come on, Timmy, you’re better than that.

    But that really isn’t the point. The point is that absolutely NONE of the people spearheading the climate change movement – Thunberg, Gore, Sanders, AOC, Bloomberg, Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Merkel, etc., etc. talk about climate change in terms of getting climate change to the “right level”…

    They talk about it in terms of COMPELLING people to do or not do things.

    They talk about it in terms of ENGINEERING (i.e., FORCING) massive changes in existing societies.

    They talk about it in terms of CONTROLLING the choices available to people in all things.

    I’ll ask you this question: Can you please provide a quote from any or each of the individuals named about where they talk about what the “right” amount of climate change is in their eyes, and how they came to that determination objectively.

    Now I’ll save you time and answer the above question: No, you can’t. Because none of them think about climate change in those terms.

    They think – and speak – in terms of control, constraint and compulsion.

    You’re out there in economic la-la land, TImmy.

  31. @DocBud, bis, Jussi, bis, rhoda

    +100

    @Tim W

    -100

    CO2, is NOT a form of pollution

    Why do you believe this AGW hypothesis? Do you have the necessary science knowledge to question the claim?

    A Realist? Don’t think so, more a conformist

    @Dodgy Geezer

    Your suggestion of simply shoehorning in the estimated externality cost is simply playing into the hands of the activists

    Spot On

    If Tim & the people would understand the science, and realise that the hypotheses are provably incorrect, and that, even if they were correct, they would be predicting that average temperatures would shift over a century to those experienced a few tens of miles nearer the equator, they might not be willing to spend so much money in ruining their lifestyles and their nations wealth…

    Exactly

  32. I refer you the very first comment. Economists think they’ve found the Philosopher’s Stone.
    But it’s still iron pyrites, all the way down

  33. Giant Rabbits induce “Climate Emergency” Rabbit Industrial Revolution causes Rabbit made Global Warming
    How could a body of water as big as the Mediterranean just…disappear? It would take decades and more than 1,000 research studies to even start to figure out the cause — or causes — of one of the greatest vanishing acts in Earth’s history, Published on 9 Jan 2020

    Warning For Mr Worstall & Greens: No Al-Beeb type “evil man, plastic & CO2; more tax messages”

    .
    When We Took Over the World – not very long ago – and halted Rabbit Warming
    Aus 50-60k years ago, UK (inhabit/abandon/inhabit/aban…) ~43k, Alaska ~16k

  34. Tim; that’s all fine, changing prices. But this is what’s peculiar about this 2035 ban malarkey for the 2050 target.

    There’s about 2.7mln new vehicles sold pa in the UK. So that’s some %’age of the installed base. So time to replace the entire base with EVs can be calculated-ish.

    But, with the ban drawing nearer, EV manufacturers are guaranteed some increasing chunk of something like 2.7mln worth of sales. ICE producers and guaranteed to see sales reduce to zero.

    At some point, why would either set continue to roll out any new technology?

    If ICE production capacity represents some overhang, then sell the existing tech into jurisdictions with no ban, without improving it.

    Total emissions merely plateau out, or could increase, elsewhere. No reduction.

    Job done?

  35. And today BBC has an article about how wind turbines don’t last forever and are difficult to recycle.
    Wonder how that’s factored into the cost of renewables

  36. “Everything else is excuses.”

    Exactly.

    “You haven’t a clue what the “right” amount of climate change is.”

    It’s worse than that! He doesn’t even know what “climate change” is. Nobody does. It’s undefined. A phantom menace.

  37. We’re trying to have the right amount of climate change.

    This is such an absurd statement, as pointed out numerous times above, that it brings me back to my suggestion that Tim is trolling his regulars, he knows nothing gets us more hot under the collar than talk of a carbon tax. Come bag every now and then to stir the pot and Tim is guaranteed a long thread.

  38. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Having a Pigou tax on carbon dioxide to combat global warming is like having a Pigou tax on food to combat crop failures caused by witches. We want the CO2.

  39. The “right amount” of climate change is where the benefits of getting it – more plants etc – are equal to the costs of having it – losing beachfront. That’s just what the optimal amount is.

    If everyone is paying the costs of their actions then a market economy will entirely naturally arrive at this amount of climate change. For people only do things where the benefits are greater than the costs.

  40. That works right across the globe, does it, Tim, everyone gets the right amount of climate change as long as we maintain just the right amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? Notwithstanding the contributions from mother nature.

  41. Assuming that your theory is correct, to use your tactic:

    1) “If everyone is paying the costs of their actions”.

    So you accept that, unless everyone on the planet is doing the same, what you are suggesting is a complete waste of time. I only add that because that specific point (but what’s the point of us doing it in isolation) has been raised so many times before on here and you’ve mostly (from memory) not engaged with it?

    2) “then a market economy will entirely naturally arrive at this amount of climate change”.

    There isn’t a world wide market economy. We have nation states. If I, in the UK, pay an extra £10 for my petrol – which the UK state spunks on an extra diversity officer, there can never be enough – and the Maldives magically sinks under the waves, how would that help or work, as a market solution?

  42. Tim, your world doesn’t include politicians? That’s the implication of your thesis. All the little people free to interact in a way that automagically optimises things hasn’t happened since we were hunter-gatherers.

  43. The “right amount” of climate change is where the benefits of getting it – more plants etc – are equal to the costs of having it – losing beachfront. That’s just what the optimal amount is.

    If everyone is paying the costs of their actions then a market economy will entirely naturally arrive at this amount of climate change. For people only do things where the benefits are greater than the costs.

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Tim. It’s a good theory. But let’s follow its logic. If the carbon tax too low it doesn’t reflect the entire externalities of CO² release & fails to reduce it by enough. But what happens if it’s set too high? CO² release is reduced by more than necessary & the taxed suffer more economic pain than necessary.
    But you don’t actually have a method of coupling the cost of the externalities to the level of tax. It’s all wild speculation. So let’s ask you a question. Out of the wide range of potential externalities costs, which one’s will be chosen by politicians who have an interest in getting their paws on the tax collected?
    And sorry, don’t give me that revenue neutral bollocks. That would work if the level of revenue governments could extract from an economy was some figure carved in stone. It isn’t. Governments extract revenue at the level they think they can get away with. So any level of carbon tax could be called “revenue neutral” against any level of overall taxation. All it has to do is say we’ll reduce these taxes by x billions to compensate for x billions of carbon tax. But over here, we’ll raise these taxes by y billions because we were going to do that anyway, honest we were!

  44. Yep, entirely so:

    “But what happens if it’s set too high? CO² release is reduced by more than necessary & the taxed suffer more economic pain than necessary.”

    And the costs of what the idiots are doing now is higher than that too.

    Another way to explain my position is that I am even more cynical about politics and politicians than you are. Sure, they’ll get the tax rate wrong. Splash the cash on idiocies. This is less damaging than allowing them to actually do or plan something.

    Their doing nothing might well be the best answer. But that ain’t gonna happen.

  45. There’s a good example of what happens when politics meets Pigou taxation here:

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/04/londons-congestion-charge-needs-updating/557699/

    It says the LCC has reduced the number of vehicles entering Central London by 25%. It also says bus services are suffering from increased congestion and uses that as a reason to increase the LCC. Which has already risen from a fiver to nearly 12 quid. How’d that happen? Because the bastards use traffic management to produce congestion, that’s how. We saw it in the run-up to the original LCC. Few roadworks projects on critical roads. Bit of fiddling with traffic lights phasing. Run up to the LCC, London was nearly gridlocked. When it came in, the roadworks magically vamished, the lights’ phasing was retweaked… viola… reduced congestion. The LCC is just a cash cow for London politicians. Always was.

  46. No. I’m more cynical than you are, Tim. They’ll use a carbon tax as a “virtue tax”. Like the LCC. Because the punters will be told it’s doing good there’ll be less resistance to paying it. So they can pluck the goose a little harder with the same level of clucking.
    There should be some law of economics. “Governments will always strive for the maximum of revenue extraction” Even supposed tax cutting governments seem to manage it. Maggie did, didn’t she?

  47. “Their doing nothing might well be the best answer. But that ain’t gonna happen.”

    Tim, that sort of defeatism is horribly consistent with your tactic of invariably saying “OK, let’s pretend you’re right, but in which case…”. All that ever happens is that the bastards bank those kind of statements as tacit agreement, the conversation more widely is seen to have changed, job done, and then they move on to the next battle. (From memory, you did the same with the arguments over avoidance and evasion. What’s next? I know: “OK, let’s pretend, purely for the sake of argument, that you are absolutely right and there really are 7,643 genders….”)

    If the bastards are wrong, then fight them, otherwise we automatically lose.

  48. I think this one of these things where you have to look at motivations. Incentives, of you like. What are all the people concerned about the climate change bollocks motivated by? Their personal fortunes, NOW. There are good careers being built on this.The outcomes are so far in the future that they’ll all be dead. Or their careers over, which amounts to the same thing. . It’s like being confronted by a time-share salesman. What’s his interest? Your future holidays or his commission check? Looked at like that….?

  49. Don’t feel too bad about it Tim. Even great economists like Paul Samuelson have been guilty of moral blindness. Carbon taxes are a sin tax pure and simple and huzzah for your moral superiority in supporting them.

  50. Sure, they’ll get the tax rate wrong. Splash the cash on idiocies. This is less damaging than allowing them to actually do or plan something.

    But having a carbon tax doesn’t disallow them from the doing and planning. As I pointed out above, every country that has or is introducing a carbon tax is full steam ahead on the other bollocks too. In fact, the other bollocks are precisely the idiocies they’re splashing the carbon tax cash on – it’s one of the justifications for it.

    Crikey, thet’s some serious shit you’re smoking.

  51. bloke in spain
    February 7, 2020 at 1:52 pm/February 8, 2020 at 10:01 am

    And another cost of that congestion charge: try getting any tradesman, —who needs a van for his tools…— to take on a job inside the zone. Increased cost for householders and business, even those without a vehicle.

  52. You know, in all the excitement I must have missed the list of Pigou taxes that worked as the sole solution to any problem.

  53. @djc
    Exactly that. A lot of our clients were in the LCCZ. And not all of them were fellows of the ASI. We just passed on the LCC to the client £for£. Without the overheads of paying it. Which could about double it if paying day by day. So for each tradesman on site, when I left, 8 quid a day. And there could be four, even on a small job. Plus street parking at £4/hour On a refit for a 2 million quid apartment, peanuts. On a new bathroom for some old dear on state pension, enough to seriously hurt.

  54. Dennis, Climate-Change Denying Fruitcake

    Another way to explain my position is that I am even more cynical about politics and politicians than you are. Sure, they’ll get the tax rate wrong. Splash the cash on idiocies. This is less damaging than allowing them to actually do or plan something.

    So what you’re saying is rather than fighting hard for the correct solution – demonstrating that human induced climate change is a fraud being used to foster totalitarianism – you’d rather lose the argument as slowly as possible by suggesting a tax that won’t work.

    Ever thought of working on Mitt Romney’s staff?

  55. @bis

    Deliberate congestion pioneered in Edinbugh by the man who fuels road rage, the one-time councillor is now Professor David Begg

    @PF

    “Their doing nothing might well be the best answer. But that ain’t gonna happen.”

    Tim, that sort of defeatism is horribly consistent with your tactic of invariably saying “OK, let’s pretend you’re right, but in which case…”. All that ever happens is that the bastards bank those kind of statements as tacit agreement, the conversation more widely is seen to have changed, job done, and then they move on to the next battle. (From memory, you did the same with the arguments over avoidance and evasion. What’s next? I know: “OK, let’s pretend, purely for the sake of argument, that you are absolutely right and there really are 7,643 genders….”)

    If the bastards are wrong, then fight them, otherwise we automatically lose.

    Quoted in full as 100% correct. Worstall accepting their claim gives it more credence

    Al-Beeb interviewing XR: “Senior Fellow Worstall from the Right wing think tank ASI agrees CO2 is a major environmental and Climate Emergency problem and needs to be stopped by taxing it”

    @Dennis

    Excellent

    Petty Nancy and Priggish Mitt
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i1tUY7Z-bI

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