Zac Goldsmith, recently selected as the Tory candidate for Richmond Park and surely about to become a poster boy for Project Cameron, has written for this morning’s Telegraph about the environment (of course). Here are key extracts:
Climate change is real and serious: "Not all scientists agree on the gravity of the problem, but we’re as close as science allows to a consensus. Nicholas Stern calculated in his report last year that there will be more than 200 million refugees by 2050 because of sea-level rise alone."
Brown isn’t green: "Brown doesn’t get it. He talks about shifting the fiscal system away from taxing ”goods”, towards taxing ”bads”, but the actual level of green taxation has fallen since 1997 from 9.4 per cent to 7.7 per cent, while the tax take has soared… The Chancellor’s doubling of air passenger duty following the release of the Stern Review will have zero impact on the environment; it will do nothing to encourage operators to be more efficient, and can be interpreted only as yet another stealth tax. The fact that it was applied retrospectively to people who had bought tickets suggests it was not designed to discourage flying."
Green is profitable: "Where companies have invested in low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency, they are being rewarded. Dupont has reduced its emissions by 72 per cent since 1990, saving more than $3 billion."
Conservatives and green taxation: "We are looking through a lens of opportunity that will see a shift in tax, not additional taxation. Years of stealth taxes have eroded people’s trust, which is why the shifts we make in taxation will need to be transparent and honest."
Correcting massive market failure: "Stern described climate change as a catastrophic market failure. The market is blind to the value of the environment; but the market is a powerful force for change, and the challenge is to price the environment into our accounting system so that pollution becomes a liability, not an externality."
You can expect Zac Goldsmith to be making similar arguments from TV sofas, Party Conference stages and party political broadcasts for years to come.