John Vidal's list (It's the great green reset: 10 things Britain can do now to save the planet, 3 January) seems very achievable, but I would like to add one more to accelerate change: climate income.
First, introduce a carbon tax across all industries to price emissions into the market, closing a huge economic loophole. By gradually increasing the tax, we not only incentivise lower emissions on the supply side, but we also drive demand for low-carbon alternatives.
Second, redistribute the revenue equally to all citizens. This protects the most vulnerable consumers, who already have smaller carbon footprints, from fuel poverty. The wealthiest people with the biggest carbon footprints would see their costs rise, but for the majority, costs would be neutral.
Third, introduce carbon border adjustments. This policy would prevent emissions being transferred offshore, but also protect many UK businesses, especially our vibrant small business community, from competitors in countries without a carbon tax. This policy would help drive many of the others at a time when we need real urgency.
Citizens' Climate Lobby UK
There is one additional action that would make achieving John Vidal's wishlist much easier: start a serious conversation about how we make money.
Money is probably the most powerful tool ever invented by humans, but the way we account for its use is leading us to destruction. By steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the environmental cost of our activities and by treating the future as less valuable than today, we have built a complex economic system whose primary incentive is to destroy the living world.
The old way of doing things may have been practical when the human population was small, but it is not appropriate for today's population and level of technological development. Rather than continue to argue about how we should share money (fossil fuel companies or renewable energy, meat farmers or vegetable growers), a deep reset of what constitutes profit would give us the chance to overhaul the economy so that it rewards activities that nourish the future. Then, maybe humanity will have one.
John Vidal fails to mention the one thing above all others that needs to be addressed if we are truly to save the planet, and that is the relentless rise in world population. As many academic papers demonstrate, in terms of the steps that an individual can take to limit their contribution to global heating, a voluntary limitation of family size is by far the most effective.
I agree with everything John Vidal proposes, but know that not a single one of these things will happen with this government in power. At the beginning of the pandemic, I, like many others, thought it was time to rethink how we live and how our society could change its priorities. How wrong we were. At the age of 76, I will not be around to experience the worst of what is in store, but my grandchildren certainly will be. Please can someone tell me how I can regain any sense of optimism or positive feelings about the future?