tl;dr Air pollution kills 64,000 people in the UK every year, yet the Government provides annual fossil fuel subsidies of £10.5 billion, according to the European Commission. To meet UK climate targets, the Government must end this practice and introduce charges on producers of greenhouse gas emissions.
Link to petition:
Introduce charges on carbon emissions to tackle climate crisis and air pollution
Deadline: 17 August 2021 (all petitions run for 6 months)
Number of signatures:
20,801 @13Apr2021 (when there were 42 days till Towel Day)
10,000 required for the government to respond (it did on 30Mar2021; see below)
100,000 required for ‘consideration’ (whatever that means) for debate in Parliament
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution‘ has two glaring omissions: it mentions nothing at all about reducing (let alone eliminating) fossil fuel subsidies, nor does it suggest any kind of financial penalty for polluters; both of which, to my mind, are no-brainer first steps to addressing climate change.
A ‘carbon charge’ would encourage industries and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions, and could raise billions for the UK economy. The Government can ensure the charge does not unfairly impact those who cannot afford to pay by using some of the money raised to support low income households through the low-carbon transition. The UK should also utilise its position as host of COP26 and the G7 summit to drive global progress on carbon pricing.From the petition ‘Introduce charges on carbon emissions to tackle climate crisis and air pollution‘
The response to the petition, provided by HM Treasury on 30Mar2021, includes a paragraph of what appears to me to be total gobbledegook which tries to sidestep the OECD‘s findings that the UK subsidises the fossil fuel industry to the tune of £10.5 billion a year§, and follows that with the declaration, “To be clear, the UK does not give any subsidies to fossil fuels”. Someone here is telling pork pies; given the choice of conflicting analyses, it’s no surprise to me that the Sleaze Party would choose a set that can be interpreted to suit its agenda.
Working backwards from the six-month deadline (17Aug2021) indicates that this petition was initiated in February — why petition.parliament.uk doesn’t just show the start date up front is beyond me; I reckon there must be a hidden tax on joined-up thinking. The number of signatures to date is a pitiful 21k. Removing my socks to do the sums, I figure that’s just over 10k per month so far, and if it continues to build at that sluggish rate this petition has the proverbial snowball in hell’s chance of reaching the 100k signatures required for ‘consideration for Parliament debate’; something I feel is sorely needed so as to hold the government’s feet to the fire.
On the grounds that an ocean consists of a multitude of drops, I’ve signed this petition. If you’re a UK citizen, I hope you will consider doing so, too.
§ “The United Kingdom is the largest provider of subsidies to fossil fuels [in the European Union] with €11.6 bn accounting for 21% of the total amounts in 2016” — Study on Energy Prices, Costs and Subsidies and their Impact on Industry and Households Final report, November 2018, page 268