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It’s not very mature of me but I get irritated when my comments are rejected by moderators, particularly when I have put more than 5mins effort in. So rather than waste the effort I am posting my comment to Myles Allen’s article The Green New Deal: One climate scientist’s view, from the other side of the Atlantic here.

OK, a high carbon price but cars must go.

My comments do not contradict the argument that a high carbon price is necessary but are based on the worry about the emphasis on it in Myles’ article and the Washington Post  piece that prompted it. They both put forward solutions appropriate to mega corporations. These are necessary but what is missing  is a realisation that we must transform the way we live – and the most difficult step is starting to plan for lifestyles that are more-or-less car free. This can be seen from these tablee that compare the emissions from selected cars with the personal remaining carbon budget for 1.5C, which is a frighteningly small 57 tonnes CO2e per person.Anyway here is my comment …

As a founder of a small local group, the Pollution Tax Association ( in 1992, I welcome almost any suggestion of a carbon price. It needs to be high. It would be good to see the proceeds spent on multiple lines of innovation – as well as supporting those that are not polluting the Earth very much i.e. the poor.

However, I worry about a ‘more focused Deal’ because a focusing implies rejecting some approaches to concentrate on approaches that a ‘focus’ will reject. Anyway who is doing the focusing?

A very high carbon price would be an excellent move but there are structural barriers to innovation. For example, the patents held by George Stephenson held up the development of steam engines for decades. A new approach to encouraging innovation may be needed.

If a carbon price were big enough to severely inhibit the use of our polluting cars, we’d get gilets jaunes – unless there was good preparation. That needs town planning, which must begin to create car free living. Regulatory changes to the nature of cars (make them lighter and slower) would help.

P.S. I’m a bit obsessed about the role of private car at the moment. I’ve just been looking at the carbon footprints of selected brands and comparing these with remaining carbon budgets. It’s frightening. See “Carbon emissions and the lifetimes of cars”.


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