Friday, February 13, 2009

On carbon taxes and a sense of proportion

Three pieces of information showing the importance to keep a sense of proportion in the carbon tax debate:

A total of 735,000 automobiles were sold in China last month, compared to 656,976 vehicles were sold in the US. BBC News

and this:

FINANCE Minister Trevor Manuel’s plan to tax vehicles emitting more than 300g of carbon dioxide per kilometre from next year should be welcomed. The sentiment brings SA closer to international best practice in sharing in the responsibility to mitigate climate change.

While it is fair to argue that private vehicles do not add nearly as much carbon to the atmosphere as heavy industry does, changing the way we think about the environment may begin to make the big difference that the world needs.

Even if the effect of the tax is negligible in the greater scheme of global warming and climate change, its symbolic value and the awareness it creates is likely to have an important effect. (Business Day)

and this:

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) 22,473 passenger cars were sold in January. But light commercial vehicle sales declined 9.4% over December last year to 8,978 units. The net effect was a total January new vehicle sales figure of 32,999 units - a mere half a percent increase over the previous month. (Bizcommunity)

Conclusion: Symbolic values and facts are not always good partners.

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