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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Green tax, Airlines problems and Biofuels sustainability

Ministers to debate expanding list of 'green' tax breaks

EU member states have sent their finance ministers to Brussels today (13 November) to discuss a proposal, first tabled by Britain and France in July, to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) rates on certain environmentally friendly goods.

Current EU VAT rules, spelled out in the 2006 VAT Directive, allow for reduced rates for energy consumption in order to give poorer households access to energy. The rules also allow for reduced rates for a variety of goods and services, but 'green' considerations have traditionally not driven the selection of items on the list.

In July, France and Britain announced their support for an extension of the reduced VAT list to products such as energy efficient light bulbs and insulation materials.

While the support of France and Britain, which has been traditionally opposed to new tax laws originating in Brussels, may give a boost to the measure, reducing or harmonising VAT rates across the EU is difficult since the unanimous backing of all 27 EU member states is required.

France intends to push for agreement on the VAT issue during its presidency of the EU from July to December 2008...France may also push for penalties on imports from countries with high pollution levels, such as China. (lol) (source)

My comment:
Great! I like the idea, I hope they put it in Reality the right way! And I want EU as social as possible, of course : )


Airlines to face tougher CO2 targets following MEPs' vote

Airlines must reduce CO2 emissions by 10% when they join the EU's carbon cap-and-trade scheme in 2011, the European Parliament said in a vote, an outcome which disappointed both airlines and environmentalists.

The proposal involves imposing a cap on CO2 emissions for all planes arriving or departing from EU airports, while allowing airlines to buy and sell 'pollution credits' on the EU 'carbon market'.

  • All airlines flying to and from EU territory should join the scheme in 2011. MEPs thereby rejected the Commission's proposal that international flights should be given an extra year and ignored threats from third countries, including the US, that they would instigate legal action if the EU attempts to unilaterally force them to comply with the scheme;
  • military flights and planes weighing less than 20,000kg, such as business jets, would be excluded. (source-btw read this one, it's fun!)
My comment: Cool! Though I don't see why business jets should be excluded! Nor the military ones...But I like that they forced that measure on everybody, not just one EU flights, as that would be very unfair. If you use our air, you'll play according to our rules. Right?!

Turkey cry over REACH rules

Turkish manufacturers are experiencing difficulties as a result of the EU's REACH chemicals regulation, according to Turkish exporters, who argue that the country should fulfil its pre-accession duties, but "not be discriminated against by the EU at the same time", EurActiv Turkey reports. (my comment:well, if you export to the EU, it's normal to have to obey its laws, i think. Otherwise, it would be discrimination against the producers in the EU)

UN panel to address sustainability of biofuels

Assessing the environmental and social impacts of biofuel production and the sustainable recycling of metals are likely to top the agenda of a new global think tank on resource efficiency, set up by the United Nations on 9 November.source
My comment: Finally, something remembered to put some science into the picture. Eh, well, better late than never.

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