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Re: [Fsfe-uk] ZDNet Carbon-neutral PC runs Vista (not Free software)

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] ZDNet Carbon-neutral PC runs Vista (not Free software)
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2007 13:13:30 +0100

On Mon, 2007-09-17 at 12:05 +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> It seems so-called green taxes may be useless in changing buying habits.
> Point of information: the different levels of road tax/vehicle excise
> duty/road fund licence pricing are having no effect on Europe yet:
> "CO_2 emission rates from *new cars* are down by just 0.2 percent on
> last year" [p73, The Observer Magazine, 16 September 2007].
> Or would it change if a green tax was payable on purchase price,
> clearly labelled?

I think one of the big problems is that it's not possible to boil
'degree of eco-friendliness' down into star rating or something like
washing machines or something, making it difficult to see how you could
set such a tax in a way which rewarded that type of purchasing decision.

A lot of what determines how friendly the car is comes from the type of
use it receives: e.g., my Saab is a terrible car for urban driving,
getting something like 15mpg on a bad day. But, I never use it for that,
it does motorway miles and achieves 40mpg pretty easily.

Similarly, how 'green' a PC is doesn't just depend on how much energy
was used to manufacture it, or how much energy it uses when turned on. A
big server is terribly power-hungry, but if it's powering 20 thin
clients is it suddenly 'green'?

I think you can 'green tax' the manufacture of goods (that is, try to
link the cost of items with the environmental cost of making them), but
I don't think they will be much use at changing buying habits or
informing people which is the 'greenest' good to buy in their situation.

Thinking about cars again, I reckon atm I spend about £500 pa in fuel
duty alone (excluding VAT). It would have to be a hefty green tax
upfront to offset the running costs based on fuel, and I think the
running cost tax is a lot fairer. I'd personally like to see most of the
costs of motoring (road fund, insurance, etc.) all linked into the
actual running of the vehicle personally, at least partially. 



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