The Panama papers have shown us that what we knew for decades is actually true. There are places on earth where the laws are such that you can declare your revenues and other types of income there, and not get them taxed. It’s a game every country plays to a certain extend, Holland made tax deals with companies like Starbucks, the US banks had offices in carribean tax havens. Now, with a desire to reign in the power of big money, and also because it is important to know where that money is, these countries are being forced (or hacked), to open their books.
It is part of the ever stricter rules and supervision of people in the developed world. All our online lives are monitored and known. You can end up in court for some minor offence and some cop can build a story around your google searches four years ago. Banks expecially don’t like individuals with independent funds, because that means independent power. It basically disturbes their control of activities. Imagine if a multi billionair lands in Greece and starts handing out free solar panels. This will free greece from some of its debt permanently, and this has to be prevented by applying ruls of economics on known cash reserves. Hidden cash and real cash are both too free for the taste of the banks.
But as these tax havens are being rolled up we see a new kind of haven emerge : The Carbon Haven. Countries that play along with the climate agreements are bound by honour (not by any law) to reduce emissions. That means assets they don’t want to use, such as coal fired powerplants and coal reserves have to be sold off. A good example is Vattenfall who is selling of its lignite coal operations. To Czech firm EPH.
Vattenfall, which is selling the assets as part of a strategy to reduce its carbon exposure, will see its carbon emissions fall by two-thirds to around 24 million tonnes per year after the sale, making it a utility with one of the smallest carbon footprints in Europe.
So what will happen to the coal? It will get burned. But in the Czech Republic, which is poor, meaning it does not control a lot of fossil resources. This a bit like third world assistance. And of course countries like the Ukrain and the Czech republc pollute the air we breath, because the winds can blow it right back to Germany.
It is clear that carbon will be seeking loopholes and places to go, just like highly taxed money has. It does not matter if the Czech republic pays zero or a reasonable amount for the coal, the point is that it should not be burned at all, nowhere. Just like for the tax havens there is a need for global suppression of carbon use, beyond the economic system, because the economic system will aways promote its use. Coal should be on the list with ivory and cocaine, something you can’t trade anywhere.
It is a wrong idea to claim that coal can be a transition fuel for the Czech republic. This country has struggled for decades, it is much better off being freed out of the carbon economy, and pushed into using only renewables, because then the wealth would be debtless, and much more bountyfull. Coal plants aren’t even that productive, compared to solar farms on the same footprint.
We can not trust ‘conservatives’, bankers or economists to close climate loopholes, they hate them with every fiber of their irresponsible sad bodies. It is the left in the developed countries that will have to point out it will create jobs and much improvement to shut all coal plants down, everywhere, replacing them with solar or wind farms. The matter is not only urgent because of the climate damage, but also because the fossil economy forces us to work within the limits of fossil feuls, as we suffer the damage of it’s production and use. It is the definition of insanity to tolerate that in the age of wind and solar.