The Ecologist's 'Real Green Budget'

Environmentalists had waited with baited breath for the Chancellor's 2007 Budget. Gordon Brown had intimated that it would be the 'greenest ever'. In fact, it was a resounding disappointment.

Partly because it failed to even address aviation, the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK; partly because an increase of £90 in road tax for 4x4s will not deter anyone preparing to spend £40,000 on a car; partly because the extra £6mn allotted to sustainable homes is, in the words of Friends of the Earth, 'a joke'; and partly because a cut in the rate of corporation tax showed where the Chancellor's true interests lie.

But mostly because, as the Budget was dissected and pronounced in fact 'revenue neutral', it has become more apparent than ever that the Budget is a mere formality, a tinkering around the edges of an economy which is far beyond the control of the Chancellor, or the Government.

In response to this, the Ecologist Online has prepared an 'alternative budget' - not a breakdown of facts or figures, taxes or levys, but a series of ideas which really do have the potential to change the way our economy works and the way we live on the planet. Contributing to this budget are:

Miriam Kennet, a Director of the Green Economics Institute, on the lack of 'green' in Brown's budget. He has a lot to learn if he thinks 'green' means business as usual.

Molly Scott Cato, green economist and author and Senior Lecturer in Social Economy at the Cardiff School of Management, on why our obsession with economic growth is holding us back.

James Robertson, independent economist and author, on whether 'carbon trading' is in fact the way forward. Perhaps a new system, which ties us to ecological contraints, is needed.

Richard Bickle, Secretary of the UK Society for Cooperative Studies, offers up a solution that can work today - the cooperative model. Here's how business can really be ethical.

John Rogers, John Courtneidge, John Waters, and Mary Fee from LETSlinkUK, on why money is the problem, and why the LETS model is one way out of the trap.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist March 2007

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