In recent weeks, the Western world has woken up to the devastating impacts of climate change. We have seen extreme flooding in Germany, a catastrophic heatwave in British Columbia, and the highest temperatures ever recorded in June in Finland and the United States. 2020 was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record in the UK, with the UK Met office confirming that climate change is ‘already being felt’ across the nation.
In spite of this - and the fact that ‘greenhouse gas emissions are already too high for a manageable future for humanity’ - the UK Government has yet to deliver a proper strategy for addressing climate change, and helping manage the impacts that global temperature rises are having.
This is why we started the Zero Carbon Campaign, and why we’ve launched a petition calling for the Government to stop issuing fossil fuel subsidies - which currently total £10.5 billion per year - and start charging big polluters for the damage they do instead.
How would a carbon charge work?
A ‘carbon charge’ would make big polluters pay for every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions that they produce. It would be charged ‘upstream’ (i.e at the point where emissions are produced), rather than ‘downstream’ (i.e as a total ‘carbon cost’ on products people buy). At a cost of £75 for every tonne of greenhouse gas produced, a UK carbon charge could raise up to £27 billion per year for the British economy by 2030.
This could be invested in helping heavy industry decarbonise, and supporting households in moving away from high-carbon lifestyles - e.g. help buying electric vehicles, or installing heat pumps in their homes. We know that the British public wants to play a role in addressing the impacts of climate change, but we also understand that for many people this is not something that they can currently afford.