Use an Environmental Harm Tax to encourage change

Introduce a tax for products with high C02 emissions costs.

The idea is similar to other taxes on products with harmful side-effects: alcohol, cigarettes, and the new sugar tax.

The obvious thing to tax is C02 emissions per ton (including other climate change gases like methane via a C02 equivalent amount, and minus any verifiable offsets).

Administering it would be complex - the end-to-end carbon cost of a product is hard to assess. To help with this, the tax could be introduced one class of products at a time, and would involve some banding (as we have with council tax rates). A default band for each product could be used for unassessed suppliers.

E.g. imported apples from an unassessed supplier would pay more than locally produced apples. But still less than e.g. meat, as apples are unlikely to be a high-carbon product. And the importer could apply for assessment to reduce the tax if they can demonstrate good practices.

 

Why the contribution is important

This would encourage businesses to reduce their climate impact, but with flexibility. The data from assesssments can be made public to empower consumers to make informed choices.

by winterstein on October 26, 2020 at 12:01PM

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