Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Climate change: Justice?

One of the UK's policies for tackling climate change is Air Passenger Duty, a banded tax on (carbon-intensive) air travel intended to discourage it. And in the wake of our misbehaviour at Durban, they've just hiked the rate, from £85 (NZ$170) to £92 (NZ$184) per passenger coming to New Zealand.

Its a long-planned move, of course, but at the same time there's just a little tinge of justice about it. And it may be a sign of things to come. Our government clearly is uninterested in acting on climate change. But the consequence of that is that other nations are less inclined to listen to our special pleading when they adopt measures to curb it. And this, in turn, is going to have consequences for us: on our tourism, and on our exports (and in the latter case, those consequences will be inflicted precisely on those responsible for the foot-dragging: farmers). The question is how much the government is willing to pay to continue its regressive policies - and how much of its international reputation it is willing to burn.