Belgian employers advocate ‘CO2 tax shift’
Two major Belgian employers organizations, VBO/FEB and Unizo, are in favour of the idea of a CO2 tax on fuels for heating and transport, as proposed by the climate change administration of the government, on condition that it is a ‘tax shift’ and not a ‘tax lift’.
Former VBO chairman Thomas Leysen calls upon ‘sticking a price on CO2’ urgently in an opinion article in De Standaard, claiming “it’s the most important decision this country can take on the short term”.
40 to 100 euro per ton CO2
Federal Minister for Energy, Marie-Christine Marghem (MR), revealed this weekend the details of a study she ordered with the administration for climate change. In the possible scenarios the proposition starts at a level of 10 euro per ton CO2 by 2020, increasing to 40, 70 or 100 euro per ton by 2030.
In case of a 70 euro per ton scenario, this would mean a CO2 tax of 0,19 euro on diesel, 0,18 euro on petrol and 0,01 euro on gas. For an average family this would be 127 euro for heating and 154 euro for transport by 2030.
Tax shift, not tax lift
For the federation of Belgian enterprises (VBO/FEB) representing some 50.000 companies and Unizo, the union of self-employed and SMBs (80.000 members), such a CO2 tax can get green light on condition it is a tax shift by lowering other taxes and investing in an energy transition, not a tax raise (tax lift)
“This principle should be communicated clearly to the people”, the employers state. And people must have the opportunity to avoid paying this CO2 tax by using alternative energy sources with few CO2 emissions.
Smart mix of measures
Former VBO Thomas Leysen is currently chairman of the board of directors at Umicore, the KBC Group and media group ‘Mediahuis’ and has a seat at Toyota’s Global Advisory Board among others. He thinks Belgium has to take action urgently to fight climate change.
This asks for a smart mix of measures, Leysen says, with a measure for ‘sticking a price on CO2’ being the most important decision the government can take today. “For the heavy industry there is already a price on CO2 emissions through the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). But 63% of our total CO2 emissions does not fall within this category”.
Price on CO2 is feasible
“A price on CO2 is feasible”, Leysen states. “Nobel price winner Josephy Stiglitz and top economist Nicholas Stern calculated that a price of 80 to 100 euro per ton CO2 should be possible by 2030. Lots of countries around us have already such a price system. The Scandinavian countries are doing this for 30 years”.
“Every day citizens and enterprises are making important choices in their housing renovation projects or industrial projects and mobility purchases. These will all have effect on our CO2 emissions for the coming decades”.
“There is an urgent need for a clear vision to take this decisions. The government has one year left before elections. Now is the time for some political courage”.