ON December 18, while most people were looking forward to watching a lump of air being kicked about in Qatar or were viewing another dreary whinge from those perpetual purveyors of victimhood, Harry and Meghan, the European Union quietly announced new carbon taxes to be imposed within member states from 2027.
They will apply to petrol, diesel and heating fuels such as natural gas, coal and heating oil. It is estimated that the new scheme will entail higher prices of up to 10.5 cents per litre on petrol and 12 cents per litre on diesel, and rises in heating fuels.
Michael Bloss, a Green lawmaker who took part in the final negotiations, loftily stated: ‘Citizens in the EU must expect higher CO2 prices.’ In other words, for merely wanting to keep warm at home during the winter months or to travel as conveniently as possible from A to B, EU citizens face the prospect of another penal tax being imposed on top of existing spiralling fuel and energy prices.
In the supposed name of ‘saving the planet’, the only measure that those in power can come up with is making existing energy sources more expensive. Meanwhile realistic alternative modes that can be sufficiently scaled up to meet demand have barely got off the ground, despite vastly expensive investment.
Not satisfied with that, EU legislators want to go a stage further by levying the tax on imported goods from other countries, a far-reaching measure that would be the first of its kind. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will force foreign importers to cover the cost of their products’ carbon emissions starting from 2026. Already trade representatives from the United States and South Africa are describing the measure as protectionism via the back door in breach of international trade agreements.
Fears that the EU carbon measure will lead to a ‘rapid deindustrialisation’ of African countries that export to the European Union have already been raised, particularly by Faten Aggad, a senior adviser on ‘climate diplomacy’ at the African Climate Foundation.
Either way it is the long-suffering consumer who will be paying more or going without.
The final stage of the process is ratification of the deal by the European Parliament and by the Council of Ministers who will then implement it within member nations. Ratification is expected to take place this month or next. Despite the far-reaching impact of the measures, little debate has taken place anywhere within the EU.
Up to a point, we can be thankful that the UK is now out of the EU, and that voters can vote out any government that openly pursues such a policy here. Indeed this can be a great retort for Brexit supporters to use whenever any diehard remainer challenges them to name any benefit arising from Brexit. That is until we remember the peculiar fixation of Westminster and Whitehall to follow green dogma to the fullest extent, without apparent consideration of the hardships inflicted on citizens. A similar measure could come before Parliament in the UK. If it passes, all of us will be doomed to follow lesser lives, like EU citizens, with fewer opportunities to travel and see the rest of the world, or to enjoy warm homes heated by the previously affordable and reliable energy sources during winter months, unless we definitively reject all the parties on board with this ‘zero carbon’ obsession.
As for EU citizens, once the impact of these measures become apparent to them, their likely recourse will be to take to the streets again, as we’ve seen with the Dutch farmers and the gilets jaunes in France. A few countries such as Sweden and Italy have recently had the wit to change direction. It will be interesting to observe whether they will be strong enough to resist the measures that the EU hierarchy are determined to impose.
The greatest irony of all is that while our lives stand to be diminished on the altar of ‘saving the planet’, the real culprits including China, India and Indonesia have been given a free pass on any similar commitment until at least 2050. Somehow such countries have been allowed to turn all logic on the subject on its head, despite learned articles such as a recent one in the Daily Telegraph which showed that China has pumped out more pollution in the last eight years up to 2020 than the UK since the Industrial Revolution began more than 200 years ago. China’s 80billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from 2013 to 2020 is higher than Britain’s 78billion over 220 years!
Another reason why it is so curious is that on subjects such as ‘climate reparations’ China seems to be in the clear rather than in the dock, and directly at our expense.
This article first appeared in Patrick Clarke’s Column on December 21, 2022, and is republished by kind permission.