Is the Green Fiscal Commission a waste of time and money?

One of the four principles of energy use that I set out in the Energy Age was that polluters should pay. In terms of energy use the pollution that energy creates as its by-product is devastating and in the case of emissions of greenhouse gas which causes climate change the effects might be so overwhelming that eventually there may be no polluters left to pay.

One way of making the polluter pay is through taxation; I have written about this as a means of complying with the principle that the polluter should pay, and have received responses which seem to be fairly evenly split. No one likes increased taxation because most people who have to pay the extra taxes they are suspicious that the government will either waste the money or spend it on themselves or do both.

There are good grounds for such suspicions – in the United Kingdom you have to look no further than the Millennium Dome as an example of a waste of money and MPs expenses as an example of Government spending taxes on themselves. There are numerous other examples because, in fairness it is inevitable that if you give your money to a third party to spend on the community some of it will be misapplied and some of it will stick. This is not to describe Governments as corrupt or inept – they may be but that is a debate for another day. No, misapplying money is a normal feature of life; everyone at some stage misspends or spends money in ways that they subsequently regret. Human beings are imperfect decision makers, no matter what politicians claim.

One of the things that the Government spends money on is advisory boards and committees and consultants. My own experience of these is that frankly most of them are unnecessary, but that is a personal view based on fairly limited direct knowledge, so I could be wrong.

One such body is called the Green Fiscal Commission which was established to explore the social and environmental implications of a green tax shift in the United Kingdom. You can see the various great and the good that make up the commission at and its first report at

Frankly the Commission’s report is to agree in principle with my views set out in “the Energy Age” while filling in the detail by some analysis. They also agree with the position that by expanding renewables we would create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs – something that Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, and I discussed in November last year. You can see the discussions on You Tube at

In these circumstances it makes you wonder why the Green Fiscal Commission was necessary at all. I think that their findings are obvious and common sense, so why do we need such a large body to find things that are self evident? Would it be less wasteful of public money to spend what was spent on the commission on renewable energy generating measures? I do not know how much was spent, but even if the money was not significant, perhaps the Commission did constitute a significant waste of time.

One Response

  1. Robert, If Polluters are taxed and then this taxation revenue is not spent on something such as reforestation or renewable energy the money most likely will end up being spent on something that pollutes. Tax just recirculates money somewhere else when the revenue is spent.. Monetising everything, is that the answer ? Brings to mind “they know the price of everything but the value of nothing” !

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