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Boris Johnson Warned That Tone Deaf Carbon Taxes Risk ‘Poll Tax’ Fiasco

Global Warming Policy Forum

London, 7 July: Boris Johnson has been warned that adopting extreme and politically insensitive carbon taxes threatens economic recovery, and will burden families, farmers and businesses resulting in an electoral debacle on a par with the “Poll Tax” fiasco.

The green lobbyists and campaigners making up the self-described “Zero Carbon Commission” [1] are proposing the immediate introduction of carbon taxation in key sectors of the economy, several of which have not previously been deeply affected by climate policies.

For example, the proposed levels of carbon tax would put about £3 billion a year on domestic gas and oil heating bills, exacerbating an already serious Fuel Poverty problem.

The electricity sector, where green subsidies to renewables already cost consumers over £10 billion a year, would see a carbon tax burden of about £2.5 billion per year, wiping out any saving made possible from leaving the EU and its Emissions Trading Scheme.

To add insult to injury, the “Commission” suggests that this carbon tax revenue should be used to pay for a resumption of subsidies to new renewable generators, incidentally giving the lie to the widely disseminated claim that renewables are now economically viable without subsidy.

Climate policies have hitherto steered clear of agriculture, but the Commission’s proposed greenhouse gas taxes would cost UK farmers approximately £300m a year, and they would also lose the fuel duty exemption on red diesel. 

With staggering cynicism the “Commission” notes that all these costs and burdens on the national food supply “could be passed on to consumers, creating increased incentives to adopt lower carbon diets”.

Industry and commerce would also be affected, with SME gas consumption being hit hard for the first time. The total burden for non-energy intensive commercial users would be in the region of £2 billion a year. 

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum said:

Since this proposal was authored by a PR company you might have expected some political nous, but this scheme for carbon taxes puts a huge burden on households and businesses. Adopting it would be political suicide for any government, particularly Boris Johnson’s government as it struggles to restore the economy.

It probably seemed great at a dinner party in Islington; it won’t go down so well in the Red Wall constituencies.”

Notes for Editors

[1] In spite of its name the Zero Carbon Commission is not an official body. Its membership includes John Sauven, the Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, Georgia Berry the communications Director of OVO, the UK’s second largest electricity and gas retailer, Baroness Bryony Worthington the climate campaigner, Professor Fankhauser of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, Professor Ekins of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas of the banking pressure group the Green Finance Institute, as well Lord Turner, former Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, and Nick Butler, a former BP Vice President under Lord Browne. The report was authored by a PR company, Public First, and is available from their website: