15. CO₂-levy, the Egg of Columbus?

15th blog, March 4, 2019

We regularly hear from interest groups a call for a CO₂ levy in the Netherlands. This is thought to work. I would not know what the difference is with the effect of a price increase of the fuels. Whether you make the fuels more expensive or apply a CO₂ levy does not matter for the user of the fossil fuels. There is a big difference in complexity, however: the levies on fuels are a perfectly functioning automated system. An annual increase in excise duties does not cost the government anything extra. A new system of CO₂ levies will cost the government a lot (think of measuring methods, registration, checks, lifting, return, etc.). The companies involved will also have to pay a huge amount of money: consultants, calculation methods, measuring, checking. The introduction of a CO₂ tax will lead to extra complexity, efficiency and high costs.

Should you not first question whether it actually works? Governments have been trying for 40 years to reduce smoking with price increases. The same applies to excise duties on alcohol or for taxes on cars. Price increases are simply passed on or - if there is no alternative - accepted. Petrol has never been so expensive, but traffic jams are higher than ever. Levies do not work.

Europe already introduced CO₂ levies years ago - the ETS system - and emissions have never dropped. The only thing that works is a ban. It was only when the government started to ban smoking that the number of smokers dropped. If we want to reduce CO₂ emissions to 0% by 2050, we must ban it on that date. But even if this legislation were to be introduced, there would still be CO₂ emissions until then and thus a delayed increase in the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere.

In short, a CO₂ levy does not solve anything. An increase in fuel prices is much more practical, but a CO₂ emission ban by 2050 or later is ultimately the only working solution.

The question is perhaps also whether we can actually do without fossil fuels. Is this not wishful thinking? Or can it also be done in a different way? Yes, by applying the Treesolution. Read the benefits and how they work in these blogs and spread the message. In the next blog we ask the question: 'Can we live without fossil fuels?'

Pieter Hoff
Green Musketeer 

News article

Background information
On 8 October 2018, the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued an emergency call to all countries to reduce their CO₂ emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The Netherlands wants to comply with this by means of a Climate Agreement. Pieter Hoff is of the opinion that the Climate Agreement needs additional policies to achieve 0% net CO₂ emissions by 2030 and that this supporting policy can be implemented much more efficiently, quicker and less costly than the current proposals that are included in the proposed Dutch Climate Agreement.