Correspondent's Choice

This interview about an EU carbon tax with Connie Hedegaard was published by EurActiv on 28th June 2010.

‘Don’t tax what you earn, tax what you burn’. In an interview with EurActiv, EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard throws her weight behind an EU carbon tax and speaks about Europe’s efforts to stay ahead of the game in international climate negotiations.

Drawing on the experience she gained in Denmark, which has long taxed the CO2 content of fuels, Hedegaard argued that a carbon tax should be one of the tools to encourage people to consume less energy.

Hedegaard was speaking ahead of the European Business Summit in Brussels this week, at which she will appear alongside UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer in a session dedicated to climate change.

“If you do it intelligently, you can have a lot of results coming from energy taxation,” Hedegaard said following a debate with her fellow commissioners last week on the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive.

The commissioner argued that shifting from taxing labour to taxing energy makes sense to encourage people to stay longer in the job market and find ways to finance Europe’s “relatively expensive welfare societies”.

“But of course it should not be just for generating money but it should have a purpose that you want people to do things differently,” she added.

The agriculture sector, for instance, should fall under the tax as it is currently not included in the EU emissions trading scheme for carbon dioxide. She argued that a tax could be an incentive for farmers to explore possibilities like biogas.

To read this interview in full, please click here. If you would like to leave a comment, please use the box below.

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