UK could hike tax on imports from states that fail on climate change

UK could hike tax on imports from states that fail on climate change

UK could hike taxes on imports from countries that fail to tackle climate change: George Eustice says ministers are looking at ‘carbon border tax’ as PM urges COP26 summit negotiators to ‘drive for the line’ with a week to go

  • Environment Secretary George Eustice has floated idea of ‘carbon border tax’
  • Levy would heap costs on imports from states that don’t tackle climate change 
  • Boris Johnson has urged negotiators at the COP26 summit to ‘drive for the line’ 

The UK could hike taxes on imports from countries that fail to tackle climate change, George Eustice said today.

The Environment Secretary revealed the prospect of a ‘carbon border tax’ is being examined by officials in Whitehall.

In theory it could heap costs on products from states considered to be dodging their responsibilities to act. 

But Mr Eustice insisted the Government will not bring in an arbitrary ‘meat tax’ to increase prices on food to reflect environmental impacts.

The comments came as Boris Johnson urged negotiators in Glasgow to ‘drive for the line’ to get deals on protecting the globe.

Any move to a border tax on imports would take several years and Mr Eustice said it would ideally happen on an international basis.

George Eustice today revealed the prospect of a ‘carbon border tax’ is being examined by officials in Whitehall

Protesters gathered outside the COP26 summit taking place in Glasgow this weekend 

Officials from the Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are looking at models of how a carbon border tax might work.

‘In an ideal world, it will be done multilaterally, with the whole world coming together to agree this,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show from Glasgow.

‘But it is going to be important. If you’re going to have carbon taxes at some point in the future, and emissions trading, you can only really make sense of that with a carbon border tax.’

The purpose of the tax would be to prevent pollution effectively being exported by bringing in products from countries without taking into account the emissions produced there.

‘We would be saying, as countries, that we’re taking the action necessary to deal with this global challenge, but we’re not going to allow those producers in this country to be undercut by those who aren’t doing their share, and we’re not going to export pollution.

‘So if you don’t want to export pollution, then you do at some point have to consider something like a carbon border tax.’

However, Mr Eustice was clear that a ‘meat tax’ is not on the horizon. 

‘We’re not going to have an arbitrary meat tax or meat levy,’ he said.

‘That’s never been on the cards. I’ve never supported it.’ 

In remarks briefed overnight after the Glasgow summit passes the halfway stage, PM said: ‘There is one week left for COP26 to deliver for the world, and we must all pull together and drive for the line.’

Mr Johnson said nations had brought ‘ambition and action to help limit rising temperatures’, hailing agreements on deforestation and methane emissions.

‘But we cannot underestimate the task at hand to keep 1.5C alive,’ he went on.

‘Countries must come back to the table this week ready to make the bold compromises and ambitious commitments needed.’ 

The comments came as Boris Johnson (pictured) urged negotiators in Glasgow to ‘drive for the line’ to get deals on tackling climate change

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