Taxation: Taxes on polluting fuels too low to encourage shift to cleaner, low-carbon, alternatives (Bild: OECD)
Taxes on road fuel are relatively high yet rarely fully reflect the cost of environmental harm, especially with some road transport sectors offered preferential rates, writes the OECD.
Taxes on coal – which is behind almost half of CO2 emissions from energy – are zero or close to zero in most countries. Taxes are often higher on natural gas, which is cleaner.
For international flights and shipping, fuel taxes are zero, meaning long-haul frequent flyers and cargo shipping firms are not paying their fair share. “We know we need to burn less fossil fuel, but when taxes on the most polluting fuels are zero or close to zero, there is little incentive to change,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Energy taxes are not the sole solution, but we can’t curb climate change without them.
They should be applied fairly and used to improve well-being and ease the energy transition for vulnerable groups.”Across the 44 countries studied, 97% of energy-related CO2 emissions outside of road transport are taxed far below levels that would reflect damage to the environment. Only four countries (Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland) tax non-road energy above EUR 30/t CO2, considered a low-end estimate of the costs to the climate of carbon emissions.
Several countries have even lowered energy taxes in recent years..
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