Environmental Taxes


Going Green

Posted on November 23rd, by Global Tax Weekly in Carbon Taxes, Environmental Taxes, Oil and Gas. No Comments

I’m no climate change “denier” (a term I despise incidentally, with all its unpleasant overtones), but I’m not totally convinced that it’s happening either. As I’ve alluded to before in this column, at the same time, I also happen to think that the world would be an infinitely better, healthier place if we stopped burning fossil fuels and switched to cleaner alternatives. I realize that we are undergoing something of a transition towards that end all over the world, and that it’s not going to be completed overnight, or probably within my lifetime, but I would argue that governments are making a bit of dog’s breakfast out it. The United States managed to send men to the moon with less computing power than is available in your smart phone, and that’s because they spent billions of dollars on the Apollo … Read More »


A Recipe For Legislative Paralysis

Posted on March 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Democracy, Environmental Taxes. No Comments

In an age of increasing voter apathy, of general disenchantment with mealy-mouthed style-over-substance politicians desperately trying to stay on-message, it was refreshing to see another example of Switzerland’s “direct democracy” in action when a proposal to replace VAT with an environmental levy was rejected by the people. But can the people be given too much say on issues ranging from the mundane to the fundamental? I suppose it could be argued that democracy Swiss-style is potentially a hindrance to the political process. With Swiss voters able to demand a say at every level, from the federal right down to the communes, of which there are almost 3,000, it sounds like a recipe for legislative paralysis, a system in which proposed laws are endlessly debated and amended and never approved – isn’t this what we elect politicians for in the first … Read More »


The Award For Silliest Tax So Far In 2015 Must Surely Go To…

Posted on January 19th, by Global Tax Weekly in Environmental Taxes. No Comments

…Hungary, and it’s going to take some beating I think. Most countries now provide tax incentives in one form or another to the renewable energy industry, while simultaneously increasing or creating new taxes on the use of fossil fuels. Yes, the jury is still out as to what the perfect environmental tax policy should be to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas, or, indeed, whether taxes work at all. But it’s still an eminently sensible policy you might think, when you’re trying to save the world. Hungary thinks rather differently, and in its wisdom has slapped an environmental levy on solar panels. This is because, says the Government, solar cells contain hazardous materials and are therefore difficult to dispose of at the end of their lives. The solar industry counters that panels are actually recyclable, and in any case, have very long lives, … Read More »





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