The European Union has been widely credited for its environmental forward thinking and its commitment to the environment and combating global warming. Under a tough European regulatory advance, manufacturing across Europe has become greener, as highly polluting industries and competitors were shut down by strict emission standards and other green legislation. They have succeeded in bringing down emissions across the UK to below 76% of Kyoto levels, while economic growth has continued to expand. Cars have grown more efficient and energy wasting appliances & lightbulbs have been scrapped. Overall the EU's track record on reducing emissions production across the Eurozone has been largely successful. Nonetheless, evidence based research demonstrates that the EU's environmental policy has not just disrupted economic growth, but more importantly has done nothing to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and may have led to the world emitting more carbon dioxide.
Now how on earth could I make such a wild claim? How could environmental emissions standards for EU industry actually harm the environment and the world we live in? Well those polluting factories that we shut down have just moved overseas to countries with little to no environmental regulation and exported even more environmentally damaging goods back to the EU. The UK alone imports goods with a carbon footprint of 391 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, 47% of our whole carbon footprint. The big lie in all the propaganda pushed by the EU is that what matters is pushing down the level of emissions produced in the EU. Whereas in reality what matters is the amount of emissions generated by the stuff we can consume and use. It doesn't matter, for the environment from a planetary perspective, if the steel we use is produced in a factory in Port Talbot or Shenzhen China, it only matters how many emissions are generated in the steel we use. If you look at our carbon consumption, i.e. carbon emissions generated making the stuff we consume in the UK, we find that carbon emissions are unchanged since Kyoto. A complete and utter betrayal of the spirit of the Kyoto protocol.
So how do we propose to combat climate change, protect the environment, while supporting British industry?
- The introduction of a Carbon Added Tax (CAT), which taxes each tonne of CO2 consumed within the UK. By levying on consumption of carbon rather than production emissions, we tax UK and foreign manufacturers equally, removing any environmental incentive for UK manufacturers to offshore jobs. This tax in fact would make UK manufacturing more competitive overnight, as UK manufacturing is less polluting than our developing world competitors. At the same time by increasing the price of carbon intensive goods, this would give an incentive for consumers to decarbonise their consumption, while raising £44bn a year in tax revenues.
- Investing in farming subsidies for reforesting land, will transform farmers roles into part farmer and part guardian of nature. Based on a payment of £x/hectare reforested and with y hectares reforested a year, this would cost £0.3bn a year.
- There will be a large share of derelict land in cities and towns freed up by the planning reforms that we propose in our section on anti-bureaucratic planning reforms. We propose that the government should invest £1.8bn a year reclaiming these derelict areas as parks and nature reserves.