Analysis advises marked rise of environmental charges

PHOTO: Reuters / Postimees

Car tax, fuel excise rise, CO2 tax lifted to €20 per tonne, mandatory excise duty on packaging – these being the most remarkable proposals made by scientists in their environmental charges analysis.

The authors of the analysis, lead by former Riigikogu member Valdur Lahtvee, of Estonian Greens, offer loads of advice on rises of environmental charges in 2016–2020. The analysis was ordered by State Chancellery; on its basis, the Government is supposed to shape tax policy for foreseeable future.

The weightiest, economically, of the propositions would be a domestic CO2 tax imposed on electricity production, rising to €20 a tonne by 2020 – on condition that the price of a tonne of CO2, in the EU emissions trading, would remain below €10.

A price hike of such calibre would mean that production costs of a megawatt of electricity at Narva stations would rise to the tune of a CO2 tonne, an MWh, by 2020, costing up to €30 more than now. With a price level like that, the Narva power stations would drop out of the competition. In the EU carbon emissions trading, CO2 price has remained at exceptional lows, three-four euros per tonne, allowing the Narva stations to keep on producing, full blast.

Furthermore, the authors advise a research into whether crude shale oil ought to be excised. The authors arguing that public revenues from oil production need to be increased. Yet, under pressure from producers, the government recently decided to waive crude shale oil state tax.

Mirroring the European Commission, the authors advise a registration and yearly tax on cars, to push people to purchase more economical and environmentally friendly vehicles. The aim of the tax, again, would be cutting CO2 emissions in the country.

In the authors’ opinion, larger chargers ought to be imposed on farmers as well, for, in order to save the environment, mineral fertilisers and plant protection products ought to be taxed – to be used more economically. Thereby, less of these would end up in the environment.

Also, the authors advise to tax the production of waste fuels, and to put into place a households waste tax paid the whole year round by real estate owners. Currently, households only need to pay for carriage of waste, the sum depending on the amount of waste created.

Daily lives would also be impacted by the advised mandatory excise on all packages. Right now, packages are excise free, if the producers manage to prove that the packages are being collected by recycling organisations. The analysis, however, advises that producers should pay excise on every tenth package, the rest being excise free in case of being recycled. The proposal would cause price rise of consumables, as consumers would end up paying up for the extra charges.