SP members: ‘Tradeable CO2 budget’ unearthly and dangerous plan

Economist Barbara Baarsma’s proposal for transferable CO2– creating budgets goes against the equality of all Dutch people. Moreover, such plans reveal a dangerous tendency to implement far-reaching measures against democratic majorities, MPs write Lilian Marijnissen and Mahir Alkaya (SP) on EW Stage.

Lilian Marijnissen (1985) has been political leader of SP since 2017 and party leader in the House of Representatives. Mahir Alkaya (1988) has been a member of the House of Representatives for SP since 2018 and is digital euro rapporteur on behalf of the Danish Parliament’s Finance Committee. Earlier this year, he published his book Who does our money belong to? where he writes about digital forms of money and the competition for the money of the future.

EW Stage publishes opinions from (mainly young) authors who contribute to the debate on the basis of their own research or professional experience. The articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors.

While there is deafening silence in the House of Representatives building, and the majority – despite the insistence of many opposition parties – decided not to return from recess for a debate on nitrogen, discontent is growing in the country. Due to the rapidly increasing costs of groceries, gas and energy, a growing group of people can no longer pay the bills. Nevertheless, the Rutte IV cabinet has indicated that it will not do more this year for the purchasing power of these people.

CO2 budget: otherworldliness
in uncertain times

As the reports of record corporate profits fly around you, more and more people can no longer make ends meet. It is therefore understandable that ideas from wealthy economists such as Sandra Phlippen of ABN AMRO – to take six months off every five years – and Barbara Baarsma of Rabobank, who advocates tradable CO in a radio broadcast.2budgets do not suit many people. These ideas exude a complete alienation in a time full of inflation and great uncertainty for people.

Read more under the video

Your cookie settings do not allow this content to be displayed. The following cookies are required: marketing. Change your settings to view this content.

According to Rabobank’s Baarsma, everyone in the Netherlands should have a maximum amount of emission allowances so that when we add up, we do not emit more greenhouse gases than ‘our limit’ allows. Of course, such ideas to combat global warming are not new. These kinds of ideas regularly come from the EU. Baarsma: ‘So, if I want to fly, I buy from someone who doesn’t have to fly because he doesn’t have the money for it, for example, who sells me his CO2 emission rights and gets a little more money as a result.’ In short, she called for a free market for emissions rights. If this idea ever becomes a reality, it would prove to be very unfair.

A better environment is a collective, not an individual task

A CO’s justice2budget for households is already questionable as long as industry is the biggest emitter in our country. We have grown up with ‘a better environment starts with you’, but this is hard to sustain if a single company like Tata Steel emits as much as 1.4 million Dutch people annually. So a better environment starts there. Additionally, this is a collective task, not an individual one.

An individually tradable CO2the budget incorrectly suggests that the climate problem can largely be solved by household and consumer choices. Further individualizing the climate problem in this way is ineffective and will hit people on low incomes hardest in their daily lives. Whereas, if it is up to economists like Baarsma, we will soon discuss individual CO2budgets, the big companies are wringing their hands. Let’s start by really taxing the big polluters and demanding that the profits be used to produce cleaner ones.

Respect the equality of all Dutch people

So we don’t think that an individual CO2 budget is a good idea, but if you want to maximize household emissions strongly, then you should at least respect the solidarity between and the equality between all Dutch people. Wanting to make emissions rights tradable goes directly against this idea. It ensures that the ‘happy few’ who come up with such ideas do not have to change their lifestyles themselves. They can continue to fly indefinitely while ‘buying off’ their responsibilities. And since mobility is largely synonymous with freedom, and sustainable mobility is still far too expensive for most despite all the subsidies, individual CO2budgets greatly limit the freedom of many. The division is already too great in our country.

An individual CO2budget is also practically impossible at the moment because not all transactions have CO2emissions are monitored. The question, however, is how long it will remain that way. Rabobank customers have recently been able to digitally track the impact of their consumption on the climate. With so-called ‘Carbon Insights’, customers can see how much CO2 emissions each euro spent on groceries, heating, driving, clothing or flying causes.

Banks use digital money to monitor spending

Other banks are also working on similar digital payment monitoring systems, which of course do not work when paying with cash. A prerequisite for CO2budgets actually seem to be that we run everything digitally. We do that more and more. In 2021, only one in five cash payments were made at the cash register, compared to half in 2015. Most people have for some time paid larger amounts with the payment card, but today the bank card or the phone is also used for small amounts. Add to that the fact that more and more payments no longer take place at the till, but in webshops, and the conclusion is clear: more and more of our purchases can be monitored for CO2.2emissions and that is what is happening.

Therefore, many look with suspicion at the European Central Bank, which follows the commercial banks in the development of digital money. There is a broad desire in the House of Representatives to design these digital euros of the future in such a way that monitoring almost all transactions becomes impossible. Proposals to enable anonymous payments and not to program political preferences into money were passed by a large majority. In this way, a CO2budget for households, which Baarsma proposes, is excluded from the start.

Democratic majority no guarantee against EU plans

These are tough prerequisites for thinking about such a digital euro, but we unfortunately know from experience that a democratic majority in our country offers no guarantees. Especially when it comes to EU processes. For example, the Dutch voted against a European constitution, but they still got it through the back door. The association agreement with Ukraine was also voted down by the population, but it too came with only one insertion.

It is therefore up to the government to keep its back straight in Brussels and stand up for the majority in our country, who see nothing in CO2budgets or mass monitoring of transactions. If the government – ​​for whatever reason – fails to do this, and the digital euro soon, together with a CO2budget is thrust upon us, one should not be surprised if more and more people lose faith in democratic processes and begin to see conspiracies everywhere.

Leave a Comment