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Carbon border tax would be a climate change ‘persuader’

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Climate change is a policy challenge unlike most others, because success will require a global effort in a sphere which will bring significant upfront costs for each economy. And, although the world will benefit in the future from concerted policy initiatives, to date that hasn’t been enough to generate combined action on the scale required.

A continuing refrain from those opposed to taking painful action today is that domestic action will be largely offset by international inaction. If the EU takes urgent measures, a water-bed effect could see the reduction in emissions in the EU being countered by a rise in emissions elsewhere.

There is some validity to this concern. The first task of global policymakers is to try and convince the bulk of the world economy to act, leaving few free riders. Alternatively, there is a need to develop policies to allow some economies, such as the EU, to move faster on tackling climate change, without favouring laggards.

At the upcoming UN climate conference in Glasgow in November, the task of getting greater buy-in to action will not be easy to achieve.

At the Climate Dialogues conference in Dublin this week, Prof Biying Yu of the Beijing Institute of Technology presented results from her modelling which showed that most economies in the world would be better off in the long run by taking action on climate change, as the harm from global warming would greatly offset the costs of action.

However, while policymakers may be convinced of this result, it will be challenging to build public support for difficult measures which will only fully pay off decades hence. While China may be able to think strategically in these terms, that is not true in most other major economies, and for democratic rather than command systems of government.

One approach suggested by the Nobel Prize economist William Nordhaus is that the EU, the US and other willing partners should form a “Climate Club”, which takes urgent action by imposing a big carbon tax to drive domestic change. The danger that this tax would drive business elsewhere would be dealt with by imposing a tariff on all goods coming from countries outside the club.

He argues that the cost of the tariff would incentivise many others to join the club. In the fissiparous world of today, this theory may not work in practice.

A more targeted variant of this approach was discussed by Pascal Lamy, the former director general of the World Trade Organisation, at the Dublin conference. He suggested that goods whose production was heavy on carbon emissions should face a “carbon border tax” if there wasn’t a satisfactory carbon tax in their country of origin.

The advantage of this approach is that there would be no incentive to move production of carbon-intensive goods from Europe to other countries with more lax standards. It would also incentivise non-participants to impose suitable carbon taxes on their domestic production.

This proposed border tax would only apply to goods that involve lots of greenhouse gas emissions in their production, such as cement and steel.

Trying to calculate the carbon content of a pair of runners coming from China or Thailand compared to a Portuguese product would introduce too much complexity.

Once a carbon border tax was imposed, it would be possible to levy a common high tax on emissions from heavy industry in the EU without the fear that they would relocate elsewhere. That tax would incentivise heavy industry to find better ways of producing their product, seriously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Lamy also indicated that, because of the targeted nature of the border tax, it would fit in with existing trade agreements.

The EU are likely to propose something along these lines later this summer. However, it appears the US may oppose such a move and the UK’s position, which could be important for Ireland, is also not clear.

A common feature of all of these proposals is that they involve a substantial tax on emissions from using fossil fuels. Ireland already has a carbon tax but, if effective action is to be taken to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions, it may need to ramp that tax up much more rapidly than currently planned.

It would also help if similar action were taken elsewhere in the EU as going it alone on taxation could see some loss of economic activity to non-participants. For Ireland, this could well be a problem if the UK, and Northern Ireland in particular, does not take similar action, given the open border on the island.


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Evo Industrial acquires London warehouse (GB)

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Bradda Capital has sold a prime last-mile logistics site in southeast London to Evo Industrial for over €9.3m (£8m). The 3.4-acre site, One Church Manorway, is located in an established industrial area in Erith and has significant development potential. In September 2020, Bradda obtained planning consent to demolish the current 37,662ft² warehouse and to construct a new 60,687ft² facility with a BREEAM sustainability rating of “Very Good”.

 

David Phillips, managing director of Bradda Capital, said: “We are delighted with the level of bidding interest in the site, which reflected the strength of the logistics real estate market. It is an investment that we bought 10 years ago for income with an eye on the growing demand for warehousing in the London area. With leases at expiry, we realised the potential for adding significant value by securing planning consent for a much larger facility of more than three times the volume”.

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Inside six of the most unusual homes for sale on Rightmove

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A £10million mansion with its own vineyard that produces 100,000 bottles of wine a year and a former nuclear bunker costing £50,000 feature in the most unusual homes picked by property website Rightmove.

All six of the most unique homes for sale on the property website made the list for their standout features.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘It’s such a joy to be able to share these wonderfully unusual properties with the rest of the nation. 

‘From a former nuclear bunker on the south coast to an apartment with a cinema in an underground cave, each one is totally out of the ordinary.’

Here are the six most unusual properties for sale on Rightmove…

1. Former nuclear bunker, Folkestone, £50,000 

Included in the list of most unusual properties on Rightmove is this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker

Included in the list of most unusual properties on Rightmove is this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker

The bunker has a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971

The bunker has a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971

Could you live here? The property in Folkestone has main road access, while the bunker remains in good structural condition

Could you live here? The property in Folkestone has main road access, while the bunker remains in good structural condition

A robust property: Rightmove has described the bunker as 'one of the most impenetrable properties' on its website

A robust property: Rightmove has described the bunker as ‘one of the most impenetrable properties’ on its website

The property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Kent coastline, with views across the sea towards France

The property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Kent coastline, with views across the sea towards France

It’s one of the most impenetrable properties on Rightmove – and this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker in Folkestone is available to buy.

It has a guide price of £50,000, but it is being sold auction via Miles & Barr estate agents, with properties at auction often being sold for more than the initial asking figure.

The bunker includes a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and it was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971.

It is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, opposite the North Downs Way walking path, with views from the site across the sea towards France.

2. Two-bed flat in Nottingham, £325,000 

From outside, there is no indication of the unusual features contained within this two-bedroom flat in Nottingham

From outside, there is no indication of the unusual features contained within this two-bedroom flat in Nottingham

Steps lead down to the lower ground floor flat, which is currently on the market for £325,000 estate agents Liberty Gate

Steps lead down to the unusual lower ground floor flat, which is on the market for £325,000 estate agents Liberty Gate

Unique entertainment space: The flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema

Unique entertainment space: The flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema

The flat is part of the St Marys Gate House development, which was originally built as the French Consulate

The flat is part of the St Marys Gate House development, which was originally built as the French Consulate

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller

Mixing the old with the new: The flat has a modern kitchen with some clever lighting and exposed brickwork

Mixing the old with the new: The flat has a modern kitchen with some clever lighting and exposed brickwork

This two-bedroom flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema.

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller.

The property is being sold via estate agents Liberty Gate, with a guide price of between £325,000 to £335,000.

3. Four-bed house, St Leonards-on-sea, £1.25m 

The perfect pad to party at home? This colourful property in East Sussex has an interesting carnival theme

The perfect pad to party at home? This colourful property in East Sussex has an interesting carnival theme

The St Leonards-on-sea house is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, with an impressive asking price of £1.25million

The St Leonards-on-sea house is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, with an impressive asking price of £1.25million

The property is called The Bath House: The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse

The property is called The Bath House: The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse

The house has a bright interior: There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and bright red velvet corner sofas

The house has a bright interior: There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and bright red velvet corner sofas

Fancy a game? The main living area includes its own bowling alley with a large clown face light display hanging above it

Fancy a game? The main living area includes its own bowling alley with a large clown face light display hanging above it

This colourful property in East Sussex has a carnival theme and includes its own bowling alley in the main living area.

There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams, bright red velvet corner sofas and ‘dodgem’ artwork on the walls.

The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse – hence its name today is The Bath House. It is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, and has an asking price of £1.25million.

4. Three-bed house, London, £6.5m 

The London property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor's home

The London property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor’s home

Not your typical home in the capital: The property in Kings Cross has three bedrooms with unusual features

Not your typical home in the capital: The property in Kings Cross has three bedrooms with unusual features

Making a splash: The main bedroom suite of this London home comes with an enclosed narrow swimming pool

Making a splash: The main bedroom suite of this London home comes with an enclosed narrow swimming pool

Not a single white tile in sight: The swimming pool area has grey tiles with a black painted ceiling and walls

Not a single white tile in sight: The swimming pool area has grey tiles with a black painted ceiling and walls

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby's International

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby’s International

The main bedroom suite of this house in the heart of London comes with an enclosed swimming pool and private steam room.

The three-bedroom property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor’s home.

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby’s International.

5. Six-bed mansion with a vineyard, Wales, £10m 

As well as its own vineyard, this sprawling six-bedroom mansion has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court

As well as its own vineyard, this sprawling six-bedroom mansion has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court

Plenty of open space: Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, in Wales, boasts an enormous 137 acres of land

Plenty of open space: Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, in Wales, boasts an enormous 137 acres of land

The vineyard set-up is being sold as part of the property and it produces  an impressive 100,000 bottles of wine a year

The vineyard set-up is being sold as part of the property and it produces  an impressive 100,000 bottles of wine a year

A chance to enjoy the Welsh countryside: The stunning property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents

A chance to enjoy the Welsh countryside: The stunning property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, includes 29.5 acres of vines and supplies wine to some of the world's top restaurants

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, includes 29.5 acres of vines and supplies wine to some of the world’s top restaurants

The mansion includes a swimming pool surrounding by a patio with plenty of seating areas to entertain at home

The mansion includes a swimming pool surrounding by a patio with plenty of seating areas to entertain at home

Fancy owning your own vineyard? This property in Wales could fit the bill as it produces 100,000 bottles of wine a year.

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, is tucked away in the Welsh Borders and boasts an enormous 137 acres of land – including 29.5 acres of vines – and supplies some of the world’s top restaurants, including to French chef Raymond Blanc.

Ancre Hill has been recognised in some of the top international wine competitions in the world and won the Bollicine del Mondo in 2012 when its 2008 Sparkling Wine was voted the best White Sparkling Wine in the world. 

At the heart of the estate is a sprawling six-bedroom mansion, which has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court. The property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents.

6. Houseboat, London, £2m 

This luxurious houseboat once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf who used it on tours around France and Europe

This luxurious houseboat once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf who used it on tours around France and Europe

A quick translation of the boat's name: The houseboat is called Flamant Rose, the French for Pink Flamingo

A quick translation of the boat’s name: The houseboat is called Flamant Rose, the French for Pink Flamingo

A piece of history: The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine's Dock marina in London since the late 1990s

A piece of history: The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine’s Dock marina in London since the late 1990s

The historic charm of the yacht is felt throughout, with plenty of unique features on show, such as this ship's wheel

The historic charm of the yacht is felt throughout, with plenty of unique features on show, such as this ship’s wheel

This luxurious houseboat, named Flamant Rose – French for Pink Flamingo – once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf, who used it on tours around France and Europe.

The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine’s Dock marina in London since the late 1990s, and it is now available to buy for £2million via estate agents Sotheby’s International.

Keen to own your own houseboat? It is on the market for £2million via estate agents Sotheby's International

Keen to own your own houseboat? It is on the market for £2million via estate agents Sotheby’s International

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Search continues for Dublin man missing in US Rocky Mountains

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US park rangers are searching for a 27-year-old Dubliner missing in Grand Teton National Park in the state of Wyoming after his car was found at the start of a hiking trail.

Cian McLaughlin, who studied at Dublin Institute of Technology and works as a snowboard instructor at Jackson Hole in the Rocky Mountains, has not been seen for almost a week.

The Dublin man was reported missing on Sunday morning by Teton County Sheriff’s Office. His car was later found at the start of a hiking trail in the 310,000-acre park.

The National Park Service, the US government agency leading the search for Mr McLaughlin, said he was last seen in the town of Jackson last Tuesday afternoon.

He failed to report for work in Jackson on Thursday and the local sheriff’s office received a missing-person report late on Saturday night.

Grand Teton National Park was contacted early on Sunday when the sheriff’s office received information indicating that Mr McLaughlin may be hiking in the park. A spokeswoman for the National Park Service (NPS) said that park teams with search dogs were out searching the park for the missing man.

She said that Mr McLaughlin is believed to have headed out for a “day hike” without a backpack with him but that “no one knows where he intended to go or where he did go”.

His car was located at Lupine Meadows Trailhead on Sunday morning at an elevation of 6,732ft. The NPS spokeswoman said that there is still snow in the park at about 8,000ft.

Ground-search operations

“Aerial reconnaissance and ground-search operations were conducted in high probability areas in the park on Sunday, June 13th, in search of McLaughlin with no evidence or leads about his whereabouts. Search operations will continue early Monday morning, June 14th,” said the NPS.

In a public appeal, the NPS called on anyone travelling in “backcountry” inside the park since last Tuesday to come forward if they have any information about Mr McLaughlin.

The Dubliner’s Facebook page says he started working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort last December and that he previously lived in the French ski resort of Chamonix.

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