Letters - 22 October 2021

From Good policies to On the same side

Good policies

I have been very grateful to find a recurring focus on climate policy in the Friend. However, I would like to correct some errors in the article on by Oliver Penrose (3 September) about Carbon Fee and Dividend (also known as Climate Income), the policy that adds a gradually rising fee on fossil fuels, and distributes the proceeds to citizens. 

In particular, he opines that ‘there is no guarantee that the scheme would reduce fossil fuel consumption’ and suggests that it will have negligible effect on investments in clean energy.

He could not be more wrong, on both counts. Several highly reputable US studies state that the version now before Congress is ‘the single most effective tool for reducing America’s carbon pollution to net zero by 2050’, while the UK Policy Exchange (July 2018) shows that, in the UK ‘economy-wide carbon pricing could on its own reduce emissions eighty per cent by 2050’. Both refer to a policy that returns the income to citizens – not as a ‘muddled’ attempt at income redistribution, but because (as Nicholas Stern of the Grantham Institute has emphasised) it’s necessary for public acceptance.

Meanwhile, however, Canada has already shown actual results.

The current widely-supported Canadian version was inspired in part by its initial adoption in the far-sighted province of British Colombia, where not only did emissions drop up to fifteen per cent without harm to the economy but, within the first two years, there was a forty-eight per cent rise in the clean technology sector.

Business needs certainty above all else. This strategy not only gradually relieves clean tech of the current unfair competition from carbon-heavy product, but enshrines this correction in law rather than leaving it subject to the whims of successive administrations.

But the biggest mistake in this critique by Oliver Penrose is to pit Climate Income against a government programme of investment. The two are not in competition. On the contrary, since Climate Income costs government almost nothing, it liberates funds for the many other policies which only government can supply, including certain classes of green investment. Please, let us note the ways in which good policies complement and support each other – rather than imagine how they might seem to compete.

Judy Hindley
Co-Founder, Citizens Climate Lobby UK


We are rather horrified that our twelve-year-old grandson has just joined the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) at his school. Scouts has sadly fallen by the wayside. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will kick in later. I hate the way the military comes into schools talking about adventure and seeing the world. I wonder how other Friends have coped with this in their families.   

Christine Hayes

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