Tax justice focus
Second Quarter 2020 ■ Volume 11 ■ Issue 3

The climate issue: who stands in the way of climate justice? (Part 2)

Climate Justice and Economic Justice are the Same Fight

The environmental movement urgently needs to make common cause with those whose lives have become increasingly precarious over the last forty years. All of our lives depend on it.

Black Zero Against the Climate

The climate emergency requires massive public investments if we are to avoid catastrophic, civilisational, collapse. The irresistible logic of the Green New Deal is starting to collide with the adamantine obstinacy of the economic establishment. Peter Bofinger argues that one of them will have to give.

The Wall Street Climate Consensus

Wall Street and the City of London are finally starting to take climate change seriously, as a profit centre at least. The talk is of leveraging private sector investment to fund a green transition. But the reality is a plan to extract yet more wealth from the rest of society while delaying real change.

Surviving democracy – mitigating climate change in a neoliberalised world

Neoliberalism insists that only individuals in free markets can be trusted to make wise decisions. It is a rejection of politics that continues to entrance thepolitical class. If we do not break its grip soon it will be the death of us all.

Carbon taxes can be progressive: myth-busting and mainstreaming carbon taxes

Carbon taxes were once at the centre of discussions about addressing the climate emergency. Fossil fuel lobbyists have fought hard against them, arguing that they are regressive and will hit the world’s poorest hardest. Jacqueline Cottrell here calls for embedding them in a broader progressive agenda.

News in brief

We are all embarking on the unthinkable

The French President Emmanuel Macron gave a wideranging interview in the Financial Times in April, in which he argued that the current pandemic highlights the need to move away from a “hyper-financialised” world order and to address the climate emergency.

Macron, whose election in 2017 was seen by some as a vindication of centrist liberalism, has struggled with massive civil disobedience sparked by attempts to raise “environmentally friendly” taxes. His commitment to a new approach to global governance is perhaps a sign Western leaders are feeling pressure to change course.

Offshore Entities and the Politics of Bailouts

So far the governments of France, Poland and Denmark have announced that they will refuse to give state aid to companies based in offshore tax havens. As ever the definition of a tax haven is a cause for concern; major
“onshore” jurisdictions including the United Kingdom, the United States, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands all provide companies and individuals with the means to escape the intent of legislation elsewhere.

Time for an Excess Profits Tax?

The pandemic has brought sudden disaster to many economic sectors. But some companies have made massive profits from the dislocation, prompting some economists to wonder aloud whether it might be time to bring back an excess profits tax. Reuven S. Avi-Yonah of the University of Michigan argues along these lines in a draft article published at the end of March. Avi-Yonah points out that excess profits taxes were used extensively during World War Two and into the postwar era, and were vital in ensuring that the state was able to manage resources efficiently. His piece can be found online below.

Taxes in the Time of Coronavirus: Is It Time to Revive the Excess Profits Tax? ↘