The Corner

Green Daze

Two long-awaited steps towards Britain becoming a low-carbon economy were announced by [British finance minister] Mr Osborne: the creation of a Green Investment Bank (GIB) and the establishment of a “floor price” for carbon. Neither received an unmodified welcome

You think?

The story continues:

Putting a floor under the carbon price means British utilities burning fossil fuels will pay a fixed sum for permits to emit CO2 under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). That price cannot fall now even if the market price goes down. The point is simply to make carbon-based energy more expensive, so that low-carbon systems, from wind power to nuclear, become competitive. The current market price in the ETS is £14 per ton of carbon; Mr Osborne announced that Britain’s floor price will start at £16 a ton in 2013, rising to £30by 2020. That could increase energy prices by up to 16 per cent by 2020 if the utility companies pass the costs directly on to the consumer, according to figures released yesterday by the environmental consultancy WSP.

I have heard of ‘nudges’, but at a time when Britain faces prolonged tough times (and sharply rising inflation), this looks more like a punch in the face.

Some argue that Cameron’s Tories should serve as some sort of example for the GOP. Well, I suppose they could be useful as as a ghastly warning . . .

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