European Union to Push Clean Energy Use Through Tax

On Wednesday, the European Union pushed plans to tax carbon emissions to advocate clean energy use through raising the price of coal and diesel among other dirty fuels.  

The European Commission plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions at 20 euros per tonne, motor fuel at 9.60 euros per gigajoule, and heating fuels at 0.15 euros per gigajoule.  

The overall idea is to stimulate growth and employment by redesigning their tax structures and “shifting taxation from labour to consumption.”

According to Algirdas Semeta, EU taxation commissioner, the adoption of the new taxes will push the EU towards reaching their energy and climate target goals.

Concerned leaders cite economies that will be hard hit if the taxes are put in place.  Luxembourg, France, and Germany all rely heavily on sectors that produce heavy carbon emissions.  Opponents contend that the new taxation plans do not take into account the needs of many businesses, particularly businesses in the transportation, construction, and farming sectors.

Matthias Wissman, the head of Germany’s auto industry division, opposes the decision because it would penalize people who owned diesel vehicles and add to road transportation costs.  

Other opponents, such as German Economy Minister Rainer Bruderle, see “no merit” in the plan, and believed that states of the union should have the right to set their own energy taxes.

According to the European Commission, EU economies will not be completely bereft of any benefits. Semeta insists that the receipts from the taxes will create a million jobs within 20 years, though he acknowledges that implementing the new plans will be no easy task.

Photo Credit: maricopa.gov/aq/divisions/enforcement/images/jpg/smoking_vehicle.jpg

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