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A good well balanced commentary from the Editor there. Given the natural resistance from within to the greening of the party and the act that public concerns are far more about how much money they are paying rather than a debatable green agenda Cameron realy does need to consider carefully how had he pushes this.

yes I agree whole heartedly with Tim, we shouldn't push too hard on too fast on green issues or we will put everyone one off... it sounds un-tory to be talking up tax rises without giving anything back first in other tax cuts.

Is £65 cheap or expensive for a pair of shoes?
(I think it's Terra not Terry, by the way...)

Cameron is running with the zeitgeist on global warming, on firing Mercer...fair enough, I can understand exactly why he is doing it.

Which doesn't mean I agree with it, or that it will encourage *me* to vote Conservative (not that my constituency - Cities of London and Westminster - matters anyway!)

Agreed. Janet Daley utters a welcome cautionary note on Green Orthodoxy in this morning's Telegraph


Spot on by the Ed. Be careful Dave.

I think lots of people have already been put off. People were looking for somewhere to put their vote at the next election and I'm afraid this green zealotry is a big turn off. Ordinary people just want to be left to get on with their lives but the Conservatives are proposing more big government and more of the nanny state and more taxes. Dave should get off his bike (and his bandwagon) and find out what real people think.

It might just be me, but "biggest lead in 20 years" didn't appear the worst headline in the world.

The Channel 4 documentary 'The Great Global Warning Swindle' can be seen here.


"It might just be me, but "biggest lead in 20 years" didn't appear the worst headline in the world."

I wonder what will happen to that lead, Mr Fenton, when voters realise that they are going to be taxed for their annual holiday?

£65 is expensive for a pair of shoes by my standards! but there again I don't live in trendy Islington as an example. I tend to wait for Clark's regular sales - you can get good bargains there.

I heard DC on radio 5 Live breakfast show this morning - gave an assured performance but not sure the Green issue is going to be a vote winner. Probably a case votes wise, of win some but may be lose more

Not at all impressed with Cameron. We want less government interfearance. The working man is not happy with the Tory party.

It would be nice if one of the three main parties didn't propose green taxation. Some choice please?

"The Sun disputes this this morning - pointing out that a 2,000 'green air miles allowance' would mean travellers to Greece, Turkey, Canary Islands and most certainly Florida would be taxed."

Let's not forget the increasingly popular destination of Thailand.

Did I read correctly? The ed accusing DC of zealotry !! Its a funny old world

Did you happen to notice the Sunday Mirror ICM poll on how green the country now is? How many people recycle, etc?

There is nothing to say that the Sun's Labour "100 opinion formers say Brown's back" viewpoint is correct on this. My understanding is that the allowance will be about number of times flying as well as distance and that a family's single package holiday will be excluded, FL or not.

As to "announced simultaneously" I fail to see what you are getting at here. For months and months David Cameron and George Osborne have said repeatedly in speeches that higher taxes on bad things like carbon emissions will be offset by tax reduction on businesses and families, including tax breaks to encourage marriage. The leaked plans about what the party is discussing on green taxation were not "an announcement" and it's been clear from day 1 that the Conservatives will not only reduce the tax burden over the cycle, but will target immediate tax cuts where they are most pressing - businesses (for enterprise) and family.

Seems thoroughly sound to me.

For goodness sake! No wonder the non-Tories over on Politicalbetting call this site "Continuity IDS"

To say that "David Cameron attempted to defend his approach" rather than "David Cameron defended his approach" shows such gracelesness from a Tory-supporting website that one has to wonder.

For those who are slow on the uptake, here's the politics:

Gordon Brown's pollsters and advisors have told him he's being hammered by DC on the (increasingly important) green issue. So Brown fixes up a keynote speech to the Green Alliance (this evening) to try and steal a march on the Tories.

What do we do? Bang, bang, bang. Three days of green activity before Broon even gets to his feet. Result - he looks like a 'me too' copycat.

As for the science, please don't quote that ridiculous Channel 4 programme, made by the Marxist loons from the (ex) Revolutionary Communist Party.

This 2000 free air miles scheme sounds a nightmare to administer.

As someone who doesn't even have a passport, would I be allowed to sell mine?

Not much I suspect Jennifer.They are going to be taxed on air travel whichever party wins the general election.If Osborne is able to present this as part of a balanced approach to tax with offsets elsewhere it might actually prove to be popular. Not everyone takes the view that air pollution is not important.

When people are priced out of going on holidays to the far east, who will have to pick up the bill for the addional poverty caused by lack of tourism and jobs in the region ? Having just returned from Sri Lanka which has seen tourism tumble due to the Tsnami and a war in the North East of the country, they are VERY pleased to see tourists.

"Was this the same party leader who took the aeroplane to Scotland earlier this year?"

London to Inverness by Train = 8 hours.

London to Inverness by Plane = 1 hour 30 minutes.

Which would you choose?

Might be fun in London with so many transport options but in the North you can only move to the Continent by plane or ferry and it is currently cheaper to fly to Amsterdam or Krakow than to travel by train to London

This 2000 free air miles scheme sounds a nightmare to administer.

Not with your ID Card having an NI number so the Revenue can track you and add it to your road pricing bill direct-debited from your bank account

Good editorial. This has gone down badly, because it affects the punter in the street far more than well-travelled politicians who do not pay their own fares.

He is hoist with his own petard; having been so wary of mentioning the phrase "tax cuts" for the last eighteen months, he now proposes a tax RISE and hopes, somewhat naively, that it will be reported as tax-neutral for those that will pay it.

We have no more credibility on green issues than our opponents, so why make it our main issue? The message of the green lobby is one of taking more responsible and expensive options. Cameron wants to push that agenda through the blunt tool of taxation.

When the British public want to be taxed, they vote Labour, and always have done.

It makes sense to move all forms of transport onto a similar footing tax-wise. Beyond that leave well alone.

On air travel there is little you can do without damaging the UK since it is essentially an international business, so international agreements are necessary.

I think that this whole idea is absurd. Janet Daley was spot on today in the Telegraph. It's a regressive, unnecessary set of policies that bear all the hallmarks of the usual Cameron/Osborne Notting Hill set that have not thought their idea out further than the next headline (and they have clearly blown this one).

I live in rural Kent. I work for a large US bank and so I have to travel. I already pay a shed load of tax. And you wish to penalise me for driving a 4x4, working for an International organisation and already paying more than my fair share in taxes to HM Treasury.

Well congratulations Dave, bang goes your chance for my vote for your Party at any level.

If uber environmentalism was really such a strong vote winner then the Green party would have been in parliament long ago. The British people will go green just so long as it doesn't start to hit them where it hurts and unfortunately that is exactly the impression that Cameron has now given them, that the Tories will hurt them in the cause of the left's new religion, militant dogmatic environmentalism. Perhaps it is time for him to listen a bit less to Hilton and Goldsmith, and most certainly that gross hypocrite Al Gore, and a bit more to the voice of the ordinary striving voters whose support we must capture and keep.

Time to move swiftly on and propose some policies that affect the key issues the voters care about not the one issue that Hilton (a green party voter at the last election) and Goldsmith (a man with no idea of what ordinary life is like for most people)are obsessed with.

Hong Kong return to London available on Silk at UKL250. Air travel continues to get cheaper as the discount airlines go longhaul. Taxing flying on a national basis makes no sense. It will serve only to cripple British business.

The key to environmental change is to make old technologies uneconomic - not by taxing them which Brown and Cameron are hung up on, but by bringing on the next generation of new technologies, which will push them out.

Starting a war with Iran would be effective in pushing up the oil price and forcing business to seek alternative energy sooner. What to call such a policy? Neoconenvironmentalism? Time to get back to the husky sled, Dave.

'It might just be me, but "biggest lead in 20 years" didn't appear the worst headline in the world.'

Indeed, the self-parodying nature of this site appears to know no bounds. In the parallel universe of ConHome, there can never be any good news for the Tories, only a succession of imminent catastrophes.

There is no link between CO2 emissions and climate change. CO2 emissions anyway only make up a small fraction of greenhouse gases. This is just Marxist/Greeny/Leftish hogwash as an excuse to tax and control us more. I'd much rather trust the judgement and intellect of the Professor of Climatology who appeared on TV the other day questioning the official line on climate change than the limited intellect of braindead journalists and politicians who have no real background in science. The climate is changing all the time, it was changing before the industrial revolution and you couldn't attribute it to CO2 emissions from cars and planes back then could you? I think Lord Tebbit made a similar point once. Fewer air flights will make no difference whatsoever to the earth's climate. Does David Cameron really believe that Hurricane Katrina was caused by CO2 emissions? Events such as these are acts of nature, acts of God. We just have to accept them and get on with life. Of course over the past 20 years we have seen more floods, droughts, hurricanes etc but these have been with us since the beginning of creation. Does Cameron really beleive that expanding deserts are caused by CO2 emissions? It's nonsensical to the point of being laughable. Earth's weather is controlled by the Sun. Changing weather patterns have been caused mainly by sunspot activity not CO2 emissions. There is no clear evidence that global warming is taking place let alone that CO2 emissions are responsible for it.
I am amazed that a Conservative leader can be proposing taxes on air travel. I thought Tories stood for individual liberty and freedom. If airline taxes are part of the Conservative's next election manifesto I shall abstain from voting.

As an activist in the darkest Midlands where people work hard to play hard and want to keep their hard earned money in their pockets this is depressing. We are on a roll up here, trying to make in roads into Labour heartlands. I agree with comments about announcing both tax cuts and rises at the same time this would have been useful. We should not be taxing ordinary people out of existence or we might as well change our name to 'Really New Labour'. Interesting that also in the Sunday Telegraph David Davis commented that we should be looking at the nitty gritty stuff. These are the issues that most ordinary people, who work to keep their heads above water or people on fixed incomes, are calling out for a party to concentrate on – I think they were hoping the Tory party might have been that party once more!

You can't make an omlette without breaking eggs. Frankly if BA and Virgin were NOT upset by our proposals it would show that the proposals were toothless. The idea is to reduce demand for air travel - hardly going to have the vested interest of the airline industry delivering standing ovations. This is the Virgin who, although very customer focussed and my choice for (very occasional) transatlantic travel, sends out stuff under the rubbish slogan "love to fly".

If it means, on the margin, more take the train to France for their holidays than fly to Florida, are we to be upset? (Actually, maybe I should be because France will be more crowded, but c'est la vie.)

Some of the details may need refinement but the direction is right and today's headlines show we are serious. For every person who can't see beyond their next cheapo city break or trip to sit on a beach on the other side of the world when there are plenty nearer to home, there will be at least one, including lifelong Tory voters and members such as me, who will be cheering that we are outflanking Labour. They will be shown up to be gutless. It is a measure of a statesman that if you identify a large problem you do something about it even if it upsets people and particularly if it upsets vested interests. Different issues, but just look at Mrs Thatcher's success to see that.

an international business, so international agreements are necessary.

Yes it is an EU issue which is why Commissar Dimas is giving interviews telling "Europeans" their lifestyles must change. Spiegel is reporting Brown as giving a speech today urging the UN to make global warming one of its core competences and that the British Govt will set domestic targets to help the population make the right choices

Cameron, Brown etc have given the EU its raison d'etre to save the public from themselves

You can't make an omlette without breaking eggs

Words of Lev Bronstein aka Leon Trotsky

Cameron has been banging on green issues now for some time. Weve heard plenty about tax increases, but none about balancing tax cuts. Cameron is risking Osborne's recently announced economic tests...

Cameron shied away from really promoting the married couples allowance idea but cant wait long enough to come up with solid ideas on environmental taxes. Im concerned that whilst we are desperately trying to get the younger vote through these comments on the environment, we are ignoring everyone else (particularly pensioners, who seem to have been ignored in recent times). Its an extremely dangerous way to do this.

Greenism is a bit of ( highly debateable )science and a bit of trendyism and , some might say , a bit of classism dressed up as do goodism

- a witches brew of quasi religious c--p
epitomised by Gore

Cameron ought to get out a bit and talk to some real people - not just the arrogant , moneyed ,Notting Hill crowd .
In my daily work I talk all the time to very ordinary people who live far from London . They do , however , like their holidays and the Conservatives are now being seen to threaten this very important part of their lives .

A total self inflicted goal .

Just belt up about the whole topic - and distance the party from Gore - pronto .

That poll lead was before the holiday tax announcement so let's see if public support continues or not now that we've made our first substantive policy announcement on tax shall we.

Londoner spouts the same nonsense as Peter Franklin, Ainsworth's clown of an adviser. Gore is lying hypocrite. Dave, with his and his team's endless foreign trips, are beginning to look like Gore.

I'm sure there are easier alternatives to raising green taxes which would not raise the hackles of the voting public. IF man-made CO2 emissions are perceived to be the culprit, then surely we can make more of a difference by using taxation to regulate the amount of energy we all use at home, or in the workplace, and the taxes raised MUST then be used to invest in renewable cleaner energy sources.

We must learn to keep the message and the systems simple!

Isn't Gore the man who has just been exposed as a humbug consuming epic amounts of electricity at his three mansions? I know Tipper Gore has "big hair" but she must be using an RB211 engine to blow dry hers.

I think there is some sense in taxing aviation fuel as an incentive to cleaner aviation technology, although this really needs international agreement to work well. The miles limit on flying and VAT on domestic flights simply discriminates against people in places like Northern Ireland and Scotland for whom budget airlines have significantly improved their quality of life in recent years.

Who cares what the Lib Dems on PoliticalBetting think? We know what they want: more tax, more regulation, more interference in people's lives.

I think there is some sense in taxing aviation fuel as an incentive to cleaner aviation technology

The world's No2 jet-engine builder is in Britain. Perhaps Rolls-Roycecould be given contracts to renew the aircraft engines in the RAF transport fleet and BAe be given a contract for airframes - after all flying 40 year old wrecks to transport troops and equipment is not very "green" for the Govt and seems dangerous for aircrew

Yes Michael McGowan on Al Gore. I've just listed my best three cases of environmental do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do on the Editor's new thread.

Best post on the thread Londoner. I'm a bit of a climate change agnostic but I'm trying to get as much infornation as I can about the subject. The scientific community do seem overwhelmingly of the opinion that climate change is man made and can be rectified although to be fair there are some scientists who are of not of this opinion.I would tend to trust the scientists to a much greater extent than I would poitticians of any political party.

Thanks for the link to The Great Global Warming Swindle, Christina. It auguments the findings of climatologists at the Stockholm Institute that I read a few years ago.

I am at present in Australia visiting my grandchildren. It would appear that the Leftie Cameron wishes to make it far harder, as part of his gesture politics, for people to visit their families. All to achieve what precisely? Apparently for a tax rebate on some other tax (some hopes).
So vote Tory I say and save Dave's arse because he wont be saving anything else.

Matt Davis@0959
"Hilton (a green party voter at the last election)"

Is this true? If so I despair that the Tory Party is being steered by such people. I'm really starting to think that all is lost and that there is no solution to the ills of this country.

I agree that the weight of scientific opinion supports global warming Malcolm. What I dislike, however, is the religious fundamantalism that drives many environmentatlists (neatly skewered by Janet Daley) and the sheer certainty that micro management of peoples' lives is absolutely essential to avoid catastrophe.

A great many predictions of catastrophe have proved wrong (e.g hundreds of thousands dying from CJD, or heterosexual AIDS, the return of the Ice Age, the Club of Rome's belief that the World would have run out of food by 1985 etc.) so a bit of humility in this case would be in order.

Clearly it has to be right to reduce pollution and encourage more efficient planes, something that aerospace companies in the UK and their employees would benefit from. This message needs more work. Equally the core approach would be helped by illustrating in practical terms which taxes will be reduced on good things to offset the taxes on pollution. No doubt this message will be firmed up,


How does the headline "Tories propose tax on holidays" sound. When I heard this story I had to check that it wasn't April 1st

A long post - sorry

Climate change does need a bit of scepticism but it also needs good risk analysis. So if there is a 50% chance that what the IPCC says is likely to happen do we take the 50% risk they are wrong? The IPCC doesn't say its proven, they say it is most likely.

The climate models do include solar cycles, sunspots etc - the argument is about whether these things are being given sufficient weight. The IPCC looked at Solar & Volcanic activity and their conclusion was that these would not account for all observed changes. What is undeniable is that we are experiencing a relatively rapid change to warmer conditions and CO2, CH4 and N2O concentrations are higher than period prior to industrial era (the highest in last 650 thousand years).

There is a necessary sceptism about the IPCC and the near religious fervour some climate prophets have. There is in all probability over-egging of the evidence - the Polar Bears "extinction" story for example where the decline in sea ice is in all probabilty more than matched by increases in alternative food sources and ability of bears to adapt their hunting methods.

However even if we disbelieve the Monbiots and others and we dislike the hairshirt approach and desire for supra-national and central planned solutions doesn't mean that it isn't potentially a serious problem. There are technological solutions but these are much more likely to happen if there are economic benefits to investing in them.

If we look at airlines the average load factor is now around 80% in August - a peak month for N Hemisphere traffic. Passenger traffic growth trend is around 6% - so if loads in August went up to 90% by better capacity planning we could absord 2 years annual growth with no more flights. Using lighter planes, with better capacity planning so load factors are at 80-90% over the year, fuel efficiencies by using tugs to taxi rather than jet engines, variations in altutudes to reduce water vapour contrails would significantly reduce aviations impact on possible climate change.

The proposals Osborne has made provide a push towards achieving these changes in behaviour by airlines. That's why EasyJet isn't too worried by them, in fact seems supportive, they already have high loading, newer aircraft. BA doesn't so it attacks the proposal.

The stupid thing is energy consumption of non renewables will probably fall for technological and telecommuting reasons anyway. When the science of climate change is so unclear, why get involved in the CO2/Solar debate.

If we're going to *have* to have 'green taxes', I rather like the Lib Dem proposal to tax polluters and lower other taxes.

Ted, it is a mystery to me why Cameron and Peter Ainsworth (my MP) have thrown in their lot with the Marxist zealots of the environmental movement. They are in danger of squandering a golden opportunity to present a moderate, distinctively Conservative case on the environment, shorn of intolerance, anti-American prejudice and fanaticism. We all want cleaner air and water; less rubbish, etc for health and quality of life reasons. It was this kind of Conservatism which led to the Clean Air Acts. Similarly, we need to do more to encourage cleaner transport technology. Likewise, do we want to depend or our heating on Putin and the Iranian Mullahs? If not, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels makes sense. Focus on these things. Leave the swivele-eyed zealotry to humourless multi-millionaire demagogues like Chris Huhne and Al Gore.

What is the aim of the "green air miles" allowance ?

Is it reduce CO2 or is to raise revenue ?

Whatever the answer I think the only outcome will be revenue raising at the expense of air travellers.

As has been pointed out many holiday destinations of "ordinary people" are well beyond the 2,000 mile proposal resulting in a "tax on holidays".

This an ill thought out, potentially unpopular idea. Reactionary forces such as Kenneth Clarke have pointed out that in order to actually deter flying the level of tax will have to be very high. As we are not proposing this, it really just means more expensive holidays with no real impact on C02 output.

All this and the scientific basis of global warming is doubtful to say the least.

"The Great Global Warming Swindle" is repeated on More 4 at 10pm tonight. It certainly raises some interesting questions.

Meant to add that there are perfectly legitimate arguments to support a reduction in oil dependency, in the absence of global warming theory.

Michael McGowan (11.42) puts it better than I was going to.

"Climate change does need a bit of scepticism but it also needs good risk analysis. So if there is a 50% chance that what the IPCC says is likely to happen do we take the 50% risk they are wrong? The IPCC doesn't say its proven, they say it is most likely."

While it's certainly a fair point to balance cost of solution vs possibility of problem, the IPCC definition was actually for 90% probability. Most of their contributors were happy with a 99% definition, but went for 90% to get a consensus.

I just wonder for how many more years the trend in global temperature will have to be flat before the modellers predictions will change:


Tim Hames has an excellent piece on this in today's Times (link at the end of this post).

I am afraid I think the idea of a personal "air miles allowance" with a progressively higher tax rate for frequent travellers is quite barking. It is both intrusive and over-complicated - precisely the two charges that we are supposed to be levelling at Gordon Brown at the moment.

I also suspect that it would be difficult to implement effectively, and likely to have lots of exemptions and loopholes.

How exactly would this work in practice? How would flight & air mileage information be collected? Would airlines be under a duty to disclose all flight information to the Inland Revenue? Would our passports be used to collect information (and if so, what does that mean for our position on Identity Cards?) and if so, would there be a link between our passport number and the Inland Revenue? What about flights that start outside the UK - would they be included? If they were to be excluded, that would simply create an incentive to take a short haul flight to Paris or Amsterdam, followed by a long-haul flight to the real destination. If they were to be included, how would that be policed? What would prevent a traveller from, for example, taking a flight to New York, then flying all over the USA on business, before returning again with the Inland Revenue none the wiser about where s/he had been?

I hope this proposal hits a landfill site quickly.


Ted @ 11.29
"The climate models do include solar cycles, sunspots etc"

Perhaps they do but they did not take account of the work of Henrik Svensmar of the Danish National Space Centre on the interaction of cosmic radiation and solar wind. This effect was the mainstay of the Channel4 programme and I notice that critics of the piece are studiously avoiding comment on this particular science.

Cameron probably misunderstood the calls for "Out of the EU" and thought we didn't want to travel any more?

Mark @ 11.03

Yes that is true, the Conservative party is being partially run by a man who voted Green at the last election, not Conservative. Which does rather explain why the first substantive tax policy announced is an additional "green" tax rather than anything likely to actually attract voters to the party.

But me I'm not despairing just yet,getting closer to it though.

I think the policy is sound in theory given the condition that the overall tax levels do not rise as promised...

just wonder for how many more years the trend in global temperature will have to be flat before the modellers predictions will change

Well, in the 70ies we listened to environmental-evangilists telling us about global freezing. All the hot air they emitted probably caused the temperatures to raise but it took some 15 years before they stopped.

Airlines are currently allowed to escape the cost of maintaining a resource they consume (clean, quiet air), so no wonder they can operate more cheaply than competitive transport methods.

It’s distinctly Conservative to believe that we’re each, including businesses, responsible for the consequences of our actions. It’s also distinctly Conservative to believe in competition. So I am very pleased that it’s the Conservatives that will make individual airlines pay their true cost and therefore face true competition.

As Ted said, companies like RyanAir and EasyJet are not nearly so fearful of this tax as BA and Virgin. And when I fly to Amsterdam I already pay £55 of tax – which I’d far rather was properly targeted to reward efficient operators.

I’m sure there is greater sympathy with this type of tax than ConservativeHome or the tabloids would have us believe. A large proportion are fair-minded enough to realise that we are not entitled to make highly polluting trips to the far side of the world without paying the environmental cost.

Fulford: without paying the environmental cost.

But the point is: noone has managed to prove that 1) there is global warming and 2) that it is man-made. Since you seems to have missed my messages: there is global warming on Mars so it is probably a normal thing in the solar system.

You see all of the Great Global Warming Swindle on Google by clicking here.

I believe there such a thing as climate change I just believe it has sod all to do with what a bunch of hairless apes are doing right now and far more with that rather large object in the sky called the sun.

You can buy the DVD of the Great Global Warming Swindle here.

It is only a tenner. Buy copies for your MP (or PPC), MEPs and councillors. It is an investment and could save you lots of dosh on flights and holidays and other green fascist taxes.

Classic example (in the wrong direction!) of "it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it".

Tories are obviously self-conscious about 11% poll lead and trying to bring it down a bit

So on one side we have a minority of scientists, ex Thatcher ministers and other political sceptics; on the other the majority of climatologists, sensible guys like David Attenborough, and unfortunately neo-religious greenery

Because of the latter I have looked at both sides. The IPCC web site seem to be looking at it scientifically and stating the evidence in terms of likelihood and probabilities and the evidence is strong. I have been sceptical because there is a tendency to compare to the 19th century, a period of low temperatures, and to ignore the periods of warmth which allowed oranges to be grown outside in Oxford in the 17th century or grapes in York in the 3rd, or indeed the settlement of Greenland.

However on the balance of risk I've got to say that faced with even a relatively low probability of re-inforcing natural change with human induced warming I'd tend to go with the insurance policy of action to reduce CO2 rather than wait till the evidence is absolute either way. Climate change will not bother me - I'll get the benefits of warmer weather and be long gone by the time the sea floods low lying Britain.

That doesn't mean we leave the third world to under-development, that we initiate harsh carbon rationing tomorrow, or stop global trade. It does mean we look at how we can reduce the production of CO2, CH4 or N2O and increase our use of less polluting energy without overburdening our economies and destroying human progress.

"But the point is: noone has managed to prove..."

I would award Noone the Nobel Prize.

Jorgen, your argument reminds me of Intelligent Design... creationists came up with a list of scientists who support Intelligent Design. In parody, the NCSE are coming up with a list of 1,000 scientists who don't. The difference is that theirs are all called "Steve". They’re currently at 792.

Science isn't a popularity contest, but the weight of opinion is clearly that global warming is happening at an unprecedented rate and that man-made global warming is significant. Now the weight of opinion could be wrong... but what if it's not? Risk analysis has to come into the equation.

The consequences of you being wrong are catastrophic. The consequences of me being wrong are inconvenient.

Ted & Mark Fulford I agree with the excellent points you both make.
Been following the climate change debate for years and have tried to look at all the various arguments. I am convinced now more than ever that we are seeing man-made global warming, and I am very concerned at the way scientists have had to revise earlier predictions about the speed with which it is occurring.
As to various arguments for and against Mark makes the point quite well,
"The consequences of you being wrong are catastrophic. The consequences of me being wrong are inconvenient."
As for the green tax plans, I fully support them but I also expect the conservatives to plan for a future Britain with a modern, clean and efficient transport system which for once will be the pride of Europe instead of the butt of jokes.

"the majority of climatologists, sensible guys like David Attenborough"

David Attenborough is a journalist who has earnt most of his money from the BBC, therefore he has to believe.
The Channel4 programme covered the fact that the "majority of climatologists" back CO2 induced global warming, if they don't then then get no funding.
Don't forget that Galileo was interrogated, imprisoned and tormented until he recanted his belief that the earth was round.

Why can't people go on holiday in the UK anyway? People can escape their normal existances at a variety of UK locations from Inverness to Newport (IoW). It's a good way to make the Treasury, and if it means some tax cuts elsewhere, so much the better.

Why can't people go on holiday in the UK anyway?

because at £1.34/mile it becomes prohibitively expensive. Remember the parties bringing you plane-tax want a road levy as well

David Attenborough is not a climatologist. He is a BBC employee where to deny man made global warming is as big a crime as holocaust denial. "Londoner" used this Marxist smear tactic against me on a thread a few days ago.

"The Channel 4 documentary 'The Great Global Warning Swindle' can be seen here."

Christina, since this documentary has now been linked-to three times in this thread, let's have a closer look...

The Great Global Warming Swindle was by Martin Durkin, who also did Against Nature. Channel 4 were forced to issue an apology for that programme because the ITC found that Durkin had misled interviewees and edited footage to misrepresent them. Big surprise, Prof. Carl Wunsch is allegedly complaining that he was misrepresented in this latest documentary. Seem unlikely? Compare The Great Global Warming Swindle with another quote from Prof Wunsch:

In these circumstances, it is essential to remember that the inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence. It is probably true that most scientists would assign a very high probability that human-induced change is already strongly present in the climate system, while at the same time agreeing that clear-cut proof is not now available and may not be available for a long-time to come, if ever. Public policy has to be made on the basis of probabilities, not firm proof.

but the weight of opinion is clearly that global warming is happening.

The majority did not think you could split the atom

The majority did not think Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was valid

The majority did not accept any other geometry than that of Euclid until Riemann came along

The issues are not settled and there is no Orthodox View - the matter is highly speculative and does not exist outside a computer simulation.......I have no intention of living my life according to someone's computer model

I suspect Cameron has bought in at the top of the market on this one, and what's more he's bought in using his credit as a fresh young party leader. We'll see.

Mark, Professor Wunsch has probably been threatened with the loss of funding or even his job. That his how the environmental fascists try to silence their critics.

I recommend the IEA's latest global warming expose here.

inability to prove human-induced change is not the same thing as a demonstration of its absence.

That is tautology....we are not attempting to proce or deny human-induced change but to determine the scale of Causality and that must be proven if we are to be taken as credible.

Simply using correlation as Causality is as any basic statistician knows false and erroneous and Causation is a completely different matter.

It's not just about holidaying or taking the train. Living in the Scottish Highlands as I do, there are countless island communities who use air travel as an essential part of daily life. The local ferries are run by a state owned monopoly and are therefore expensive, inefficient and inflexible. We need to be able to travel to the mainland for work and business. Island communiy residents should be exempt from such a tax as our use of air travel is a necessity not an alternative

Good article in The Telegraph today referring to the Channel4 programme, this is a quote from it.
"Among those who attempted to prevent the film being shown at all was the Liberal Democrat spokesman on the environment, Chris Huhne, who, without having seen the programme, wrote to Channel 4 executives advising them in the gravest terms to reconsider their decision to broadcast it."
Doesn't this tell you everything about the suppression of debate on global warming. Mark Fulford refers to Carl Wunsch retracting some of what he said on air, all I can say on that one is perhaps he has come under pressure from the CO2 thought police.
Mark Fulford also says that " The consequences of me being wrong are inconvenient", yes very inconvenient for the millions in the third world being denied modern energy supplies by climate change theory.

It may be that green taxation might have a role, as long as taxes are cut elsewhere, as Mr Osborne suggests. Perhaps voters might begin to accept the need to fly less given concerns about global warming.

However, would a better answer be to provide an attractive alternative choice to air travel where possible. A high-speed rail link for speeds of about 200mph could bring both Glasgow and Edinburgh to 2½ hours of London, and would, with competitive fares, eliminate the need for many domestic flights.

I understand the French TGV is 30 times less polluting than the plane, that the cheapest fare from Paris to Marseilles (the distance of London to Dundee) is £17 and the most expensive is £87 in first class, and the journey time is 3 hours. That offers a real alternative choice to air travel.

Then with the need for flights reduced, airport expansion plans could be cancelled – that would demonstrate real concern from the environment.

Electric trains could surely use electricity from renewable sources, and as for noise, I have seen the Channel Tunnel high speed line and the noise of trains is nothing compared to the thunderous roar of the parallel M20 which can be heard a long distance away.

So TomTom believes that on global warming we should do nothing.
What an abdication of responsiblity that would be to the generations to come who would be handed on a problem that will probably have no solutions.
Never mind TomTom and others on this site who don`t believe there is a problem you just keep your head in the sand and responsible politicans like David cameron can get on and try to come forward with policies that will mean we can try to do something about the worlds most serious problem.

Philip, your high speed rail plan would cost £billions to plan and build - far higher thanthe Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The land acquisition costs would be massive. Voters in key Conservative target seats would have their homes purchased compulsorily.

Operationally, such a line would struggle to make a substantial financial contribution to covering its capital costs.

Additionally, there is no spare capacity at the north terminals (Euston, St Pancras or Kings Cross) to provide the frequency of service required to take significant market share from air.

A substantial proportion of air travellers live in Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire. A high speed link from London would be very inconvenient. There will always be demand for air travel to Scotland that the train cannot meet.

Walter Mitty environmentalists (such as Tim Yeo MP) should keep their lunatic ideas off to themselves

Taxes should, ideally, be simple to administer and hard to escape. That's why one of the earliest forms of taxation was on land and buildings: visible, immovable, producing an income out of which to pay the tax. There could be a case for taxing aviation fuel for UK flights or, ideally, on all flights to and from EU destinations.

I would be opposed to the "air miles" idea, for two main reasons. First it would be extremely complicated to administer.

Secondly it seems like too much interference in the minutiae of the individual's private life. That resounds of the nanny state rather than conservative values.

In some ways this suggested bossiness reminds me of the old Exchange Controls, which were (thank God) abolished by Margaret Thatcher. Until that time you could only convert about £70 a year into foreign currency. It hit the middle classes, but of course the super-rich never had problems with their regular holidays on the Riviera - they had the right contacts!

"Mark Fulford refers to Carl Wunsch retracting some of what he said..."

I said nothing of the sort. Please re-read.

"...very inconvenient for the millions in the third world being denied modern energy supplies "

What? I absolutely want them to have modern, clean energy supplies.

"The majority did not think you could split the atom

The majority did not think Einstein's General Theory of Relativity was valid

The majority did not accept any other geometry than that of Euclid until Riemann came along"

TomTom, you’re quite right. The majority also rejected man-made global warming to begin with. Some still do.

I don't believe that this flawed theory provides a sufficiently sound basis for
making radical changes to public policy, let alone for punishing those who
fail to fall into line. But what makes it far worse is that once these policies
are being determined by the EU, it'll make no difference whether or not the present theory turns out to be correct - as always, we'll be obliged to just
swallow whatever nonsense comes from Brussels.

"What? I absolutely want them to have modern, clean energy supplies."

Go and discuss that with the Doctor at the African bush hospital featured on the Channel4 programme "the global warming swindle" who had the choice of either having a lightbulb on or his fridge, not both. The reason for this was that he was using a solar panel for his sole electricity supply. Africa has abundant fossil fuel supplies which could supply a modern electricity grid but unfortunately this does not comply with the precautionary approach to cO2 induced global warming.

Thatcherite (1451) says,

"your high speed rail plan would cost £billions to plan and build - far higher thanthe Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The land acquisition costs would be massive. Voters in key Conservative target seats would have their homes purchased compulsorily."

Yes but billions have been spent on motorways, and many homes must have been compulsorily purchased in Conservative target seats and land acquisitioned to build those motorways. I doubt it would cost more than the Channel Tunnel link, with the latter's extensive tunnelling through London.

"A substantial proportion of air travellers live in Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire. A high speed link from London would be very inconvenient."

They have to travel to the airport, and what about those travellers who don't live in those counties near Heathrow, whose airports offer less choice. And airports are further out for travel to/from city centres.

"Operationally, such a line would struggle to make a substantial financial contribution to covering its capital costs."

That problem doesn't seem to worry the French as they continue to build high-speed lines, and of course the ability to cover capital costs depends on number of passengers, which would depend on winning as many as possible from the airlines.

"there is no spare capacity at the north terminals (Euston, St Pancras or Kings Cross) to provide the frequency of service required to take significant market share from air."

The French have had no problems with their Paris terminals, and capacity could be released through diverting more regional trains into Thameslink which should be expanded. It is not convincing to argue capacity cannot be created.

"Africa has abundant fossil fuel supplies which could supply a modern electricity grid but unfortunately this does not comply with the precautionary approach to cO2 induced global warming."

I think you'll find that it's the African economies and not CO2 that's limiting his power supply.

I am still interested in whether the "air miles" tax is in any way practicable (nobody on this thread has yet attempted to argue that it is), and how it fits into our overall philosophy - or to put it in marketing-speak whether this proposal is at all consistent with our brand values to date.

For example, Caroline Spelman recently said: "When Gordon Brown sees an opportunity to increase the tax burden by stealth, it’s clear any regard for our privacy goes straight out the window." (see below for link)

That was in the context of Labour's proposals to include information about our holiday destinations in Council Tax re-banding. Rightly, Conservatives opposed that. However, we are now proposing that the self-same information be collected for another tax.


Presumably the people pushing the C4 doc agree with it that Thatcher was a big part of the 'climate change conspiracy'?


Africa has abundant fossil fuel supplies in some places. It also has abundant supplies of sunshine, hydro-electric power, possibility of bio-fuel production, tree plantations for charcoal. The issue isn't often power generation but power distribution & management. Most bush hospitals don't have good roads to them let alone electricity supplies.

There is a great deal that we need to do to support the development of infrastructure in developing countries. Hydro-electric & solar generation has the advantage from developing countries budgets of high capital investment and low running costs compared to fossil fuel where the fuel costs hit budgets every year.

This may be a very admirable thing to try and achieve. I cannot see many people disagreeing with it.
I do think however you will find it will be a big voter turn off.
Taxing people when we are only 2% of the problem and countries like India, China and the US spewing out the filth they are and not doing anything about it.
Is Tax really the answer to this problem?
I do not think so.
Most people do not trust politicians that much, all they general public will see is another stealth tax.
I think this is another non-runner.

One possible scheme would be to require every intending air traveller to first obtain a flight permit from the Committee for State Security. Their investigators could decide whether the proposed flight was really necessary, and if so check whether that person had enough unused ration points, and of course whether there might be any security implications if he was allowed to leave the country. They could also arrange for his family members or his employer to deposit a
bond covering his debt to the state for his primary and secondary education, student loans, healthcare received, etc, in case he defected while abroad.

Denis Cooper

Or the intending air traveller could be taken to room 101 at the ministry of love and convinced that his journey was not necssary after all.

David DPB tries another smear target.

The Great Global Warming Swindle did not claim that Thatcher was part of a conspiracy. It suggested that she was one of those who initially suggested that increased CO2 emissions were a major cause of global warming. That was confirmed by Lord Lawson.

"The Great Global Warming Swindle did not claim that Thatcher was part of a conspiracy. It suggested that she was one of those who initially suggested that increased CO2 emissions were a major cause of global warming"

Er, thank you for confirming the point.

Simon, until we have all the details it is very hard to give you an answer. However my own view with the limited information we have is that if Osborne adopts this it will be a very difficult and expensive tax to collect with plenty of scope for avoidance. Not ideal is it?
I'm still not opposed 'though in principle to air pollution taxes and none of the posters who are so virulently against have said anthing to persuade me. The general consensus is that the weight of scientific information is wrong and er ...that's it.

Is this tax practical? Easily. Our identity is checked every time we fly and our passports every time we fly abroad. It would be one of the government's simpler IT projects to link your passport number to a free mileage allowance, and wouldn't require any additional information to be collected.

Denis, saying that we can’t wantonly pollute our environment is no more authoritarian than saying we can't litter - or are you one of those people who cheerfully drops your rubbish on the floor? I want to government to stand up on my behalf and protect the planet that I live in.

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