In Australia, the Government has ruled out the reintroduction of an unpopular carbon tax. Australia introduced a short-lived carbon tax from July 1, 2012, after years of political wrangling on the issue of taxing carbon emissions, which required around 500 large carbon emitters to purchase a permit for each tonne of pollution released into the atmosphere.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to target net zero emissions by 2050, but without reinstating a carbon tax. Setting out the Government’s plans on October 26, he announced that: “The Morrison Government will act in a practical, responsible way to deliver net zero emissions by 2050 while preserving Australian jobs and generating new opportunities for industries and regional Australia.”
The Government has said it intends to channel investment to industries to “deliver results through technology, not taxes”.
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The Irish Government recently announced plans to quadruple the carbon tax rate by 2030, as part of a major new package of policies aimed at combating climate change.
According to the Government’s new Climate Action Plan, “taxation policy can play a central role in incentivizing the behavioral change necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The Plan commits the Government “to having in place a taxation framework, which plays its full part in exerting, along with other available policy levers, the necessary leverage to reduce our emissions.”
The carbon tax is currently charged at EUR20 per ton of CO2 equivalent. The charge is paid by the importer or the extractor on the content of fossil fuels. The rate has not changed since 2014.
For more information on this, and other topical international tax matters, please visit: https://www.cchgroup.com/roles/corporations/international-solutions/research/global-tax-weekly-a-closer-look
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 »
Clearly, no single nation is going to tackle climate change alone. Which is why heads of state from around the world met ahead of the Paris climate talks last month to urge countries and companies to put a price on carbon. However, pricing carbon sounds fine in principle, but how do you do it in practice? Different countries have chosen different ways to go about this, from straight taxes on carbon emissions to more complex market-based mechanisms. And nobody really knows yet what the optimum carbon pricing system should look like, including me, because there just isn’t enough data to assess the various schemes. But I’m going to stick my neck out and say that the ideal system won’t look like South Africa’s proposed carbon tax, the draft legislation for which I had the pleasure of reading the other day … Read More »
If the Volkswagen emissions scandal tells us anything, it’s that meeting ambitious emissions reductions targets is proving to be very testing (if you’ll pardon the pun). But governments are not helping themselves by continuing to subsidize fossil fuel usage to the tune of USD200bn annually in the form of tax breaks and spending programs, according to a recent report by the OECD. And this is just the combined total for the 34 OECD members and six key emerging economies. If we are to wean ourselves off our addiction to hydrocarbons, then clearly something very dramatic has to happen, and it has to happen soon, because the current hotchpotch of national energy policies clearly isn’t doing the trick. Something much more joined-up is required, but I don’t envisage that happening any time soon, Kyoto Protocol or no Kyoto Protocol. I don’t … Read More »
…despite their good intentions — governments tend to put their own self-interest first, and revenue production, rather than carbon reduction, is often the primary motive for “green” taxation. The United Kingdom’s air passenger duty (APD), hiked massively during the financial crisis, is probably the best example of a revenue-raiser masquerading as an environmental tax. The major flaw in the APD is that it is essentially a ticket tax, which is charged on a per-passenger basis, with the amount payable varying depending on distance and class of travel. This leads to some perverse results, the most obvious of which is that less tax may be paid by the passengers of a half-empty plane than a full one, despite the fact that the former may be emitting considerably more carbon per passenger than the latter. The banding system also seems to have … Read More »
“The law is an ass” we say in English when the strictly correct application of legal principles by a court leads to a result that any normal right-thinking person would think is absurd; and the German Constitutional Court has just brayed very loudly in saying that the country’s air travel ticket tax does not offend against the constitutional rights of citizens or the airlines. Maybe so, but it and the Court offend against common sense. All taxes are an offence against citizens’ rights when the government that levies them spends the money it collects in a wasteful and unprincipled fashion by providing bread and circuses to voters in order to stay in power, and by that definition most of the money Germany collects is unconstitutional, as is the case in virtually all “advanced” democracies. Well, I won’t mount that particular … Read More »
By the time you read this, the farcical saga of Australia’s carbon legislation may have reached the end of its beginning, to use Winston Churchill’s words, but it probably won’t have reached the beginning of its end. The new Senate will have been installed on July 1st, and after no doubt a considerable amount of ritual grandstanding (all legislatures do it) may have gotten to vote on the repeal of the carbon tax installed by the outgoing Labour government. But if it does so, the minority parties will have extracted a high price by forcing the Government to retain its Renewable Energy Target, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which has supported renewable energy projects. They are also going to try to compel the Government to enshrine a carbon pricing scheme in law, although the price would be set at … Read More »
There is a tale of two countries Down Under this week, with both New Zealand and Australia launching their annual budgets. Both have right-wing governments, but whereas New Zealand is reaping the harvest of four years of sensible, low-key, pro-business taxation policies, turning in annual surpluses as far as the eye can see, Australia’s equally pro-business government is left with the bitter stubble of seven years of left-wing Labor rule, and is forced into a tax-raising budget to try to repair some of the damage done to the economy by Labor’s spendthrift policies. The Australian Labor Party did occasionally make gestures in the direction of business, but that’s all they were – virtually every substantive measure taken by the last government was either populist or overtly negative for the economy.
One other important difference between the twin countries, one much bigger … Read More »
Congratulations, I think, to Tony Abbott’s new Australian Goverment which has gone ahead with publishing its bills to abolish the country’s carbon tax, which was introduced only last year by the outgoing left-wing administration, and not because I am in favor of global warming, although it will improve the climate in Northen Europe, but because taxing large polluters is not an effective way of tackling the problem, as the European Union is finding out with its Emissions Trading Scheme, which is on life support and will likely collapse altogether. Like “ticket” taxes, most carbon taxes are convenient ways for governments to extract money from large companies under the hypocritical pretence of doing good. In Australia’s case, the money was used as a pre-electoral bribe (it didn’t work). So how should we control emissions? It doesn’t seem to be a very … Read More »