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A Progressive Carbon Tax Motion passed 18 February 2021 at Young Liberals Conference

March 1, 2021 2:52 PM

A Progressive Carbon Tax Motion passed 18 February 2021 at Young Liberals Conference

Submittor: Oliver Jones-Lyons (on behalf of GLD Youth)
Mover: Oliver Jones-Lyons
Summator: Matthew Isaacs


Conference notes:
A. Reductions in man-made Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be accelerated, both nationally and globally, to prevent catastrophic outcomes.
B. The majority of GHG emissions are Carbon Dioxide (CO2) derived from fossil fuel, however a noteworthy proportion are measured instead using Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (CO2e)
C. The success of carbon taxation programs in countries such as Canada
D. The ongoing carbon price working group headed by Duncan Brack and the Liberal Democrat's historic support for a revenue-neutral carbon tax in the 1997 General Election manifesto
E. A carbon tax can work in tandem with incentives for greener alternatives, such as the tax reliefs offered for electric vehicles.
F. The reducing cost of renewable energy, which in some cases can cost less than fossil fuel energy.


Conference believes:
That a carbon tax uses market forces to reduce CO2 emissions in a very cost-effective and efficient way, encouraging both energy efficiency and the use of low-CO2 energy.
A general carbon tax on all fossil fuel would affect all sectors, including heating, industry, electricity generation and transport. The tax would be technology-neutral, as it does not try to "pick winners".
A tax on all fossil fuel, collected at the point of production or import, would be collected mostly from big companies on goods that are already monitored, and the dividend rate is the same for everyone; hence administrative costs should be low.
Subsidies on fossil fuel, for example tax breaks on North Sea oil and gas, are effectively a negative carbon tax.
This carbon tax policy is just one of many policies, both financial and non-financial, needed to reduce climate change. In the future this tax might be extended to CO2 not derived from fossil fuel, such as cement production.


Conference however also notes:
The Risk of Carbon Leakage from a domestic carbon tax, by which carbon emissions merely move out of our borders and outside of the force of the carbon tax instead of real reductions in the consumption of CO2
That without equivalent adjustment to the welfare state, Carbon Tax can become a regressive policy that harms those on lower incomes. This creates a need to support low-income families, including direct support to them, and investment to reduce the cost of green alternatives and technologies.
The potential to expand beyond a simple CO2 tax to also include more widely CO2e measures of GHGs in order to suppress all forms of carbon


Conference calls for:
i. The introduction of comprehensive carbon tax on all fossil fuel energy collected at the point of production or import, and the withdrawal of fossil fuel subsidies. Expected tax rates for several years ahead should be published so investors and others can plan with confidence.
ii. The majority of the net increase in tax revenue should be paid back as a dividend to all UK residents, potentially as part of our universal basic income offering, in order to ensure this tax is progressive and supports low income families.
iii. Consideration of the possibility of imposing Border Carbon Adjustments (BCAs) on imports with significant "embedded" carbon. International agreement and mutual recognition provision to be sought so as to avoid the imposition of tariffs where possible
iv. Consideration of whether a 100% dividend is the most progressive and cost-effective way of using this funding or if other successful models can be found where a significant minority of funding is allocated to support public transport, heating and insulation programmes or other public works which will support low income families and the wider public in reducing the cost of green energy and alternatives.
v. Consideration of expanding the Carbon tax into a tax upon CO2e at some stage in the roadmap for implementation


Yes: 68
No: 1
Abstain: 4
Result: Passed