The Economist has a couple of articles on energy policy and climate change, both related to Britain’s Committee on Climate Change, an untested body. My title comes from the first, which basically says that a carbon tax would be a good idea (I agree). The second sits rather oddly with the first, and says that the markets won’t work, and doesn’t mention the word tax at all. How can they come from the same report?
It looks like you can read the CCC report from http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/progress-reports (not to be confused with the similar HoL committee here). No, the CCC is far more sexy and has a twitter feed and all that jazz. Still, the twitter feed will point you towards their report, so that is good. I just looked at the Executive summary – well, life is too short, no (I got home at 22:10: do I win a prize? Answer: no, don’t be stupid William).
They do suggest UK action to underpin the carbon price could provide support for required low-carbon investments (e.g. through introduction of a tax that adjusts according to EU ETS price fluctuations to deliver a target carbon price in the UK). Unfortunately that seems to be the only place that the mention “tax” in the context of carbon price.
The presentation of the report manages to say Our analysis suggests that in a risky, uncertain world, even with very high carbon prices, the market may not deliver necessary low-carbon investment, resulting in high emissions intensity (and high costs for consumers). which I take to be the source of the not-tax-but-reform-markets meme. But I don’t know where in the report itself this text comes from! At the moment, I’m not at all convinced they have clearly demonstrated why carbon taxes can’t do much of the work, and why they shouldn’t be pushed now.
[I forgot to mention: Gareth has already covered this -W]