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 program. Just imagine what could be achieved in the field of renewable energy if similar resources were made available, given how technology has advanced since 1969. But what do we have? A hodge-podge of carbon taxes, most of which get frittered away by some governments on unrelated spending programs, and the withdrawal of support for clean energy schemes by others. Astonishingly, some countries have actually taken to taxing renewables, with Spain, Hungary, and Germany guilty of levying — or trying to levy — charges on solar power. If you’re wondering where this is headed, it’s headed towards Brazil — I often chastise the Rousseff administration for its woeful record on tax, but it’s getting an encomium this week for proposals to expand tax breaks for electric cars. True, it’s a small step rather than a giant leap, but it’s a step in the right direction.
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