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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Monday 22 April 2019

Industry giants say no to Carbon Tax Bill

Carbon and energy-intensive companies in the mining, steel, chemical, cement and paper industries have come out against the carbon tax proposed by the Treasury, says a Business Day report. Public hearings on the draft Carbon Tax Bill were held in Parliament last week by the Finance and Environmental Affairs Committees. Opposition to the proposed tax was expressed by Sasol, which did not believe it was the correct approach and warned of the regulatory and policy uncertainty surrounding the proposals because they would be adjusted in future. Eskom’s Calib Cassim argued that a carbon tax was not required for SA to meet its international commitments and would result in a sharp increase in electricity tariffs from 2023. Business Unity SA said the Bill should be halted until an integrated mitigation system had been finalised. The industry task team on climate change said it was in favour of a ‘predictable and gradual transition’ to a lower-carbon economy but did not support the envisaged tax. Task-team representative Jarredine Morris argued that a carbon tax was not suitable in the economic context. Existing policy instruments – such as the carbon budget regime of the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Integrated Resource Plan and the industrial policy action plan of the Department of Trade and Industry – would achieve a low-carbon, resource-efficient outcome, she said. ‘The carbon tax will have no material impact on reducing carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector. Furthermore, the proposed tax is administratively and practically enormously costly and onerous,’ Morris said.