Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Taxation as a means of environmental and climate change control

Taxation as a means of environmental and climate change control 

There is a need for a more vigorous reform of taxation that may affect consumer behaviour in consumption habits and welfare.

To this end I have been looking at lots of various options from carbon taxes pollution taxes, welfare systems and come to the conclusion that most fail in the long term as they do not address the fact that we are fundamentally consuming to much at all levels of the chain, from manufacture through to consumption and along with that the waste that occurs at all levels also, and not forgetting overall damage caused by all this activity. 

So the proposal I suggest is relatively simple , but obviously not in the detail as any change is always bedevilled with the detail. so in broad terms only I suggest three fundamental changes. 

1 Scrap all existing taxes and replace with a Natural Resource Tax, NRT, collected as near to source as possible , like oil at the well head, coal at the mine , aggregates  at the quarry , land at the land owner, water by those who extract or use it  like the utilities and fisherman and those who put waste into the water chain, and for air by those who directly pollute , but this may be part of the tax , say on oil or coal , otherwise there is a double tax being applied. The amount of tax collected would meet the whole budget of the state to include security,education health , welfare infrastructure  etc, and possible debt reduction.  This tax then is not avoided, by anyone and would be paid direct to the state. The NRT would be based on the actual and potential damage these resources do to the planets eco and life support systems.

2 Raise a death tax without loopholes to stop excessive personal wealth being transferred from generation to the next generation, with the aim of reducing the rich poor divide.

3 As part of taxation reform and therefore making the consumer at all levels of the chain responsible for change, by the products they consume and use, they effect the levels of damage and pollution to the planets ecosystems, I believe we have to empower the individual to promote their own well being and health by introducing a Basic Income , which would provide for Pension, Health and Benefits, which would then controlled by the individual and not by the state.  This Basic Income awarded to all citizens of the state is in recognition of the changing world we all live in and it is not always the individuals fault that they have not the power to obtain work and be a useful citizen within the community, The fast changes in technology and shifts of production globally now has huge effects on the employment possibilities in any area, and unless there is a real shift in the way work is allocated there will always be a huge divide  like in Chicago  and Brexit happening in the UK and generally between the rich and poor. This basic income will help to overcome the worse effects.

I believe this is a far more credible way forward with the use of carrots and sticks to achieve a result we all want. Also as the taxes are fewer and more comprehensive in the way they are collected, I believe the total tax take could be reduced compared to now  when all the aspects are taken into account, for example , easier accounting for business, reduced tax accountancy needed, Less ability to evade taxes at a personal level. Perhaps this wont work in the US but after the Apple and Trump etc  debacles over taxation then it might bring new vigour to the debate.

I appreciate that within the Natural Resources movement there is reticence to more taxes of this sort , but I believe if we are really to tackle Climate change and go anywhere near to meeting the Paris COP21 agreement to increased levels of CO2 to 1.5% then real fundamental change has to occur at all levels of the debate, not just directly on CO2 emission although the most important but all the other aspects from soil carbon levels, eating habits and methane controls etc. and based on the long term effects of all the processes used. 

This fundamental tax change will I believe have the ability to meet all the needs of the present and future generations  of this planet , not just for mankind but also for all the planets life  and ecosystems that supports it.  

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