Memorandum submitted by STEERglobal
STEER is a proposal to stop chasing consumption
higher by starting to invest:
(a) against climate change;
(b) for global energy stability via renewable
(c) by returning substantial funds equally
across the world.
A new "VAT style" tax could be
placed on sales of imported products and the funds generated invested
in projects adapting and mitigating against climate change. Uniquely,
the proposal is to return an equal share of the funds to the producer
nations who would otherwise be unable to afford those projects.
The tax proposed, the Environmental Tax on Imports (ETI) could
realise in excess of $500 billion pa and be a major stability
fund. This could be an opportunity for comparatively free energy.
"All of the world would get all of the
benefit against everybody's climate change problem". See
"Proposal" background summary and "chart"
1. Such a proposal is justified because
of the difference between the values of currencies. Technology
is therefore unavailable to poor countries without vastly increasing
debt burdens, whereas with ETI in place, essential energy could
be made available. It is also justifiable because of the lack
of reflection into the international sphere of national taxation
systems and the greater and greater global needs. It is necessary
1.1.1 Sea level rise and energy shortages
will affect the global economy, hitting the poorest hardest, but
with substantial effects on the finance industry.
1.1.2 It is still not widely understood
how imminent this threat is because of the cushioning effect of
floating ice which has been melting in Arctic regions adding nothing
to sea levels. In the next 30 years it is estimated that the increase
in sea levels will increase significantly,
yet national budgets are already stretched in meeting sea attack.
1.1.3 Meanwhile global energy supplies
previously dependent on fossil fuels must undergo a transition
towards clean renewable energy, without over-reliance on bio-fuels
because of the land take that bio-fuels would require (estimate:
20% of UK land area needed for 10% of emissions to be absorbed).
[Bio-fuels would not reduce climate change, because they displace
other vegetation which absorb CO2].
1.1.4 The growth in consumption of fossil
fuel that would occur from China and India joining in the consumer
revolution indicates that we, as a global community, must think
again to maximise sustainability, since the Chinese appear to
be rushing headlong into the unsustainable Western growth model.
2. The line of thinking that we must take
may now have been relatively well accepted by the UK government
at least, judging by the progress in spring 2006:
2.1.1 Proposal from incoming Environment
Minister, David Miliband: "We need an Environmental Contract
which will be as important for the 21 Century as the Social Contract
was for the 20th Century". (Referring to poverty reduction
in Britain, the successful Health Service, Welfare State, etc
which laid the foundation for successful periods, post WWII in
UK and was a model for the world).
2.1.2 Appointment of an Environmental
Diplomat in the Foreign Office to work around the world. (Yet
the UK government thinking may be based on the lower sea level
rises than those in the Treasury data, Stern in January 2006).
2.2 The good work of the UK's Stern Review
in calling for input to the world wide climate change problem,
and in publishing the STEER proposal on their website along with
a number of international contributions should be recognised.
With STEER it should be possible (now that this way of funding
the research and implementation of projects on a global scale
has been suggested) for quicker acceptance of the necessary change
to national and international law and taxation. STEER could be
politically attractive because the proposal would eventually lead
to comparatively free energy and therefore extend the life
of oil and gas supplies, improving the outlook for the majority
of businesses. How could this be done? By investment in conservation,
renewable energy and sustainable transport via incentives using
2.3 In a similar way to the action of President
Hoover in the USA in the 1930s by constructing hydro-electric
power, following boom and bust and the Wall Street crash in 1929,
large-scale investment today (first in clean transport and renewable
energy to reduce the human impact on the atmosphere, then in sufficient
sea barriers or other measures to control the sea) on an international
basis is necessary to solve the climate change and energy problem.
Such investments should consist of:
2.4.1 Funding for conservation by insulation
and energy efficiency (see reference 1).
2.4.2 Subsidised funding of micro-generation
of renewable energy, increasing flexibility and reducing transmission
losses (see our case study) "free energy".
2.4.3 Increases in pumped storage (to
collect wind and solar [PhotoVoltaic power] energy from those
micro sources) and in hydro-electric power, wave, tidal power
etc Hydro-electric is relatively the most reliable and cleanest
energy source, well proven and widely used in many countries.
2.4.4 Greater subsidy for sustainable
mass transit for medium cities and larger towns and to improve
In these ways the longevity of oil and gas can
be extended and the future protected.
2.5 Without such an investment program we
believe the market will be too slow to turn towards sustainability
because of the lack of incentives, and with the rise in energy
costs there would be further problems. There is also the problem
that with the pace of globalisation, exchange rates could tend
to equalise or the "Eurodollar" or "globaldollar"
could come about reducing the obviousness of currency differences
between countries as a justifiable reason for taxation. If this
happened the window of opportunity for acceptance and implementation
of the ETI might close.
2.6 The need for an integrated approach to
the above problems has prompted the STEER proposal for environmental
and energy sustainability. By implementing an entirely new,
global "green" tax, demand and inflation would be moderated
in favour of sound investment and a greater return to the environment
made in both rich and poorer countries with benefits to global
security. A green import tax like this can be justified (if the
suggested return was made) because developing countries would
otherwise be unable to invest against climate change due to their
currency disadvantage and their resulting debt problems. ETI is
3.1 As well as the impending rise in fuel
costs, it is well documented that motor transport could be under
pressure due to growth in Asia coupled with the decline in easily
available oil. We do not believe that raising fuel prices much
beyond 50% increase on UK 2006 levels is practical, given the
impact that would have on a business world that has grown dependent
on road transport. Yet crude oil has more than doubled and a figure
of eight fold cost of extraction has been quoted for some reserves.
3.2.1 The "West" (or others
with power in the current economic system) are seen by the "rest"
as exploitative, greedy and manipulative. Implementation of the
STEER projects with substantial funds returned via projects to
producer nations and using local involvement, design and labour
would increase stability and global well-being.
3.2.2 the "problem" of "aid"
could be more geared to emergencies (there would be fewer of them
if the investments were made against climate change/sea barriers).
2.4.5 there are advantages for the West
in slightly deterring the relocation of manufacturing industry,
hardly affecting existing production in poorer countries.
2.4.6 Reduced need for "protectionism"
encourages more innovation by poorer countries in supply of goods
where there are clear advantages (deterring undesirable agribusiness,
or shifting populations). Investing via a mechanism frees the
system from direct political intervention (see recent proposals
in the UK by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown. STEER could therefore
be a good adjustment to the trade mechanism).
A restructuring of data collection, systems
analysis, further research, development and allocation relating
to global resources can be justified if all the above points are
considered. The end of oil and gas is only one of the future difficultiesthe
most immediate one. The ethics of business and the economic system
in use have been called into question recently (eg FT report on
US Treasury investigation into manipulation 4-10-06) . There have
also been calls for a convention on resource use and a code of
protocols between countries and companies.
Certainly the time appears to be now that co-ordination of the
climate change, energy and taxation issues described above needs
to startan integrated approach. Although STEER might initially
sound idealistic, the prospect of reducing the future cost of
transport and energy
for both domestic use and businesses across the world must make
such a proposal an imperative, a popular investment for
Some opposition from certain vested interests
is likely, so further collaboration between those with suitable
knowledge and experience would be needed to work with government
and to press for the change in the law to provide the ETI tax
While this is going on increased subsidy levels can be announced
to accelerate the provision of insulation and renewable energy
to reduce man's impact. Later the actual barriers against the
sea can be researched, tested, developed, planned and deployed
while measures such as hydrogen fuel gradually become a reality.
133 Not printed. Back
IPPC have the politically sensitive job of declaring the levels
and are delaying. But the University of Birmingham suggest that
the cycles are natural (if accelerated by man) and likely to lead
Climate change-the predictions
- 90% of the world's coral reefs may be dead in 50 years.
- If all the ice in the world melted, the sea level would rise
by 75 metres.
- We would have already committed the Greenland ice sheet
to melting, which would cause an estimated seven metre rise in
sea level. Current climate models predict a global temperature
rise of 1.4-5.8 degrees centrigade by 2100. (Ed: Any rise of
this magnitude could lead to unprecedented changes in climate).
2100, the level of CO2 in the atomsphere will probably be twice
that of the pre-industrial period. (Ed: Might this trigger
further feedback of greenhouse gasses from tundra and ocean floor,
ultimately leading to an over-hot Venus like atmosphere?)
In the Katrina incident alone that devastated New Orleans, "one
year on" in August 2006 the figure spent is $107 billion,
yet 300,000 residents are yet to return, half the hospitals are
still closed and 76,000 homes have no electricity. Many UK areas
are vulnerable and the costs could be greater, borne by a much
smaller nation. Back
Quakers and Business annual conference, November 2005. Back
The recent doubling of energy costs for householders in UK might
result in fuel poverty for very many affecting a wider section
of the community. Yet without STEER we estimate that there could
be a further doubling within three years and again inside five
years-an eight fold increase altogether, which would be beyond
the means of the bulk of the population. Back
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