Debating air taxes on Sky News

In: Daniel In The News

1 Feb 2007

This morning I appeared on Sky News debating Friends of the Earth on the raising of air taxes which came into effect today. I argued against the taxes on two grounds. First, they were in effect a form of rationing which would discourage people from flying. Second, to the extent that climate change is a problem the solution lies with investment in technological innovation. Friends of the Earth argued the taxes were welcome but the proceeds should be earmarked for green purposes.

Interestingly the Friends of the Earth representative made a big point of insisting that the science on climate change was certain and the Stern review proved it. Of course he did not make clear what exactly was certain. That the earth is warming? That humans are responsible? That catastrophe is imminent? That rationing is the only way forward? It seemed to me what was really being said was that it is illegitimate to challenge the consensus that there should be natural limits on human behaviour. In other words what is really being pushed is not scientific truth but a morality of low expectations.