Carbon emissions tax in the spotlight in SA
The spotlight has fallen on carbon emissions in South Africa, as the Treasury announced plans to phase in taxes on carbon emissions from January 2015.
Carbon emissions taxes impose a tax per ton of CO2 emissions, and are expected to drive up the cost of doing business in some sectors. However, the cost of not reducing carbon emissions could be far greater in the long run, experts have warned.
Speakers at the SA Conference on Carbon Emissions & Tax in Johannesburg this week noted that global warming could raise temperatures by 3 to 4 degrees in a century, which would have devastating effects for food production and the environment as a whole.
“Climate change is a serious global challenge (market failure) that requires a concerted international response and national efforts to reduce excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While there is a degree of global cooperation to address climate change, a fully coordinated and concerted response is not on the immediate horizon,” they said.
Speaking at the conference, Bantu Holomisa, MP and Chairperson of the Champions of the Environment Foundation, proposed that South Africa should establish a National Climate Change Green Fund. “Government funds that are generated through avenues, such as the taxing new car owners, should be channelled into such Fund. The Fund could be made responsible for launching sustainable green projects that would create much needed jobs and also to contribute towards our Nation’s food security. The Fund could be used as a mechanism to help with the education of our people in understanding the need to take care of their environment,” he said.
Speakers at the conference noted that challenges to carbon emmissions control initiatives included that fact that sustainable energy generation is more expensive than fossil fuel-based power generation.