Green tax on fossil fuels 'unwarranted': Right-wingers attack 'greenhouse' view

SCEPTICS of the greenhouse effect, who want the Government to ignore advice on limiting carbon dioxide emissions, fire another shot at the scientific consensus today.

A carbon tax to limit man- made emissions of greenhouse gases is unwarranted and unnecessary and will only damage the economy, says Roger Bate, director of the environment unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a right-wing think tank.

Writing in the journal Chemistry and Industry, Mr Bate says: 'All climatologists agree that the greenhouse effect is real, whereas the enhanced greenhouse effect, or global warming, is a contestable theory which has yet to be proved. The two are often confused so that the public assume that disaster is imminent and only immediate action can save us.'

He adds: 'Given the very large uncertainties involved in making forecasts (climatic or economic), we should be sceptical of any theory that leads to restructuring the way we live our lives.'

At the Rio summit in 1992, government officials decided to limit emissions of carbon dioxide to 1990 levels by 2000. A tax on fossil fuel - a carbon tax - has been suggested as one way to meet targets. Mr Bate writes: 'Clearly, the science is far from conclusive, but in the name of global warming, we are being threatened with carbon taxes. In the UK, value- added tax on fuel was, at least partially, proposed as a carbon- decreasing measure.'

The Institute of Economic Affairs recently published a report - co-authored by Mr Bate - questioning the scientific predictions about the enhanced greenhouse effect. The authors argued that governments should do nothing to tackle climate change.

Scientists such as Sir John Hougton, who co-chairs a scientific working party of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, condemned the institute's report as 'uninformed' and said its conclusions did nothing to change the consensus among 300 leading climate researchers.

John Woods, director of marine and atmospheric sciences at the Natural Environment Research Council and a contributor to the IPCC report on the greenhouse effect, said although it was difficult to predict the outcome of the enhanced greenhouse effect, it was clear that man-made greenhouse gases would trap more solar heat.

'What remains uncertain is the detailed climate consequences of that. One would be very foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of change in the climate due to the greenhouse effect. To say 'do nothing' would be bad advice to policymakers.'

Leading article, page 13

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Microsoft Dynamics Consultant - Watford - £65,000 + Bonus.

£50000 - £65000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: Dynamics Expert...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - London - up to £48,000

£38000 - £48000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Senior ...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower