October 5, 2018 / 1:14 PM / 2 months ago

Dutch eye tax on heavy polluters to fund climate goals

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Dutch government plans to increase taxes on heavily polluting companies to help fund the country’s energy transition and make sure that climate goals are met.

In draft proposals presented on Friday, the government said it would introduce extra levies on CO2 emissions for different sectors to push companies to clean up their acts.

This should help the Dutch cut their relatively high emissions of greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, by 49 percent by 2030 as promised.

Economy minister Eric Wiebes said it was “inevitable” that the industry would “pay a fair share” of the cost of switching the gas-dependent Netherlands to more sustainable sources of energy.

Wiebes did not specify the level of the taxes, as he is awaiting further talks with industry groups and other sectors involved in the reduction of greenhouse gasses, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive agreement by the end of the year.

He did say that proceeds of the new tax would be used to fund projects to help industrial companies trim their carbon footprints.

The Netherlands remains among the most polluting countries in the European Union, although emissions of greenhouse gasses were 13 percent lower last year than in 1990.

The share of sustainable energy in its total supply is also among the lowest in Europe, and the country has so far failed to meet any of its previously set climate goals.

Industrial companies and energy providers are responsible for more than half of the total emissions, with oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, steel maker Tata Steel and chemicals producers such as DowDuPont among the major polluters.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; Editing by Jan Harvey

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