The article says this idea won’t go anywhere, but it’s a suggestion to the EU, so I wouldn’t quite discount it so quickly:
The former head of Royal Dutch Shell has gone way out on a limb and urged the European Union to ban all vehicles that get less than 35 mpg, saying it is the only way to significantly address global climate change and force the auto industry to build more efficient vehicles.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, who spent his career working for the giant oil company, says an outright ban is needed because so-called “gas-guzzler” taxes do not work – and aren’t fair because they let those with the means to pay them skirt responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Gas guzzler taxes are only ineffective – permitting “those with the means to pay skirt responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – to the extent that politicians direct those gas guzzler taxes to the general fund to pay for expenditures not related to reducing the effects of greenhouse gases. The fault does not rest with those who pay the tax.
“‘It is a social thing,” he explained. “We mustn’t say the wealthy can avoid doing what is needed by society. When we eliminated coal fires in London we didn’t say to people in Chelsea you can pay a bit more and toast your crumpets in front of an open fire. We we [sic] nobody, but nobody, could have an open fire.”
Moody-Stuart, who is currently chairman of the mining group Anglo American, says he is a great fan of the free market, “but like most things, they have a failing. Without regulation to channel their power, markets will not deliver things which are of no immediate benefit to the individual making his or her choice, even though they may be beneficial to society.”
We all know who gets to decide what is (allegedly) needed by society.
And of course Moody-Stuart is a “great fan of the free market”, but it’s just not quite right. Some human needs to be the guiding hand rather than the invisible hand. The PC? When that showed up,
Altair IBM sold 70 billion PCs the first year because they knew it would sere an immediate benefit. The iPod? When that showed up, Apple sold 98 billion of them in the first 3 weeks. The incandescent fluorescent light bulb? Don’t even get me started on those ridiculous sales when the government regulator gave Edison the idea.
Every time one of these imbeciles opens his mouth, I wonder if he’s ever opened a book.