The Times, 18 February 2006:
Taxes aren’t how Tories will save the world’
A CONSERVATIVE government would not introduce a â€œgreenâ€ tax, according to the deputy chairman of the partyâ€™s commission on the environment.
Zac Goldsmith, the son of the late Sir James Goldsmith and Editor of Ecologist magazine, who was appointed by David Cameron after he became leader, said that good environmental policy was not about raising taxes or increasing regulations but â€œshifting emphasisâ€. â€œMost environmentalists would come out with a huge increase in taxes,â€ he added. â€œI donâ€™t agree. The Conservative Party doesnâ€™t like forcing people to do anything and I don â€™t think we have to â€” most of the obstacles are from bad governance.â€
The best way to reduce the countryâ€™s dependence on oil and decrease greenhouse gas emissions was to make people aware of the importance of buying local food and introducing energy-efficiency savings in the home.
The Guardian, 31 August 2006:
And, as George Osborne will point out in Japan, we will need to make more use of eco taxes. “We should move some of the burden of taxation away from income and capital, and towards taxes on environmentally damaging behaviour. Instead of a tax system that penalises hard work and enterprise, we need to move towards more effective and fair taxes on pollution.”
This, of course, is a quote from Boy George, who last month described the Lib Dem proposal for a tax shift as a panic measure written on the back of an envelope.
So what’s changed? Why has Zac “Read my lips: no green taxes” Goldsmith and his chums done such a vaulting U-Turn? Could it possibly have something to do with the new Lib Dem policies threatening to strip them of the nice green sheen they have been carefully cultivating for the past few months?