Catalan parliament passes climate change law
New legislation to impose taxation on activities causing pollution aims for reduction in emissions of 40% by 2030 and 100% by 2050
The Catalan parliament passed the Climate Change Law on Thursday, which foresees the creation of taxes on large vessels and business activities that produce pollution. The law also reinforces the tax on polluting vehicles. The bill was supported by all political parties, with the exception of an abstention from the PPC conservatives. The stated aim of the legislation is to achieve a reduction in emissions of 40% by 2030, 65% by 2040 and 100% by 2050.
The Minister of Territory and Sustainability Josep Rull claimed the legislation was a law of the country, because it had achieved such "wide consensus", something he said would make it "lasting" and ensure it would be upheld "whoever is in government". "Catalonia has shown that it talks the same language as other more advanced societies in the fight against climate change,” he concluded.
The Catalan government will now have to approve the plans for implementing the two new taxes before December 1 this year, with the new law to go into force in 2019.
As for the tax on business activities, the tax rate will be around 10 euros on each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, which will increase automatically every two years, to some 30 euros a tonne in 2025. The tax will be imposed on oil and gas refineries, the metallurgical industry, cement manufacturers, glass and paper factories, the chemical industry, fertilizer manufacturers, large abattoirs and cattle sheds, facilities for eliminating dangerous waste and mines, among others.
As for the tax on ships, the rate will be around 1,000 euros for each tonne of nitrogen oxide emitted. The tax will apply during docking maneuvers and while vessels are moored. The law also reinforces the tax on polluting vehicles, which was introduced as part of the latest budget.
The revenue raised by the taxes will go into a Climate Change Fund, the fund for Natural Heritage and the Fund for the Protection of the Atmospheric Environment. These funds will be used for policies of mitigation and adaptation, for boosting renewable energies, for fostering the self-consumption of electricity and for energy efficient housing, as well as for sustainable mobility, water saving and the modification of production processes.
Following Rull’s praise for the wide party consensus behind the bill, the liberal Cs party member, Sergio Sanz, said that climate change should not be a reason for contention between parties, but rather a commitment of all. Meanwhile, Jordi Terrades of the PSC socialists said it was a good law because it had the necessary consensus behind it to guide future governments, whatever their political stripe.
Yet PPC’s Marisa Xandri criticised the fact that the tax on vehicles applies to ownership and not use, while she accused the law of “trying to do away with nuclear power without a clear road map towards renewables.” In her opinion, both energy sources are “fully compatible".