Belgian role model

Earlier this month, Al Gore spent a day in Brussels to promote his film on global warming. Within days, Belgian politicians were rewriting their tax laws to do something about the apparently looming calamity, says the Wall Street Journal.

The result:

  • Gore was invoked in proposing a new "environmentally friendly" tax on packages that would penalise users of aluminium or plastic and provide incentives to switch to paper or cardboard, whose production releases less CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • The details have yet to be worked out, but the idea is for milk sold in, say, a plastic bottle to cost more than milk sold in a cardboard container.

  • Also in the works are tax breaks for car pollution filters and deductions for energy-efficient investors.

    To be sure, this Belgian scheme to save the planet also raises a bundle for the politicians to spend:

  • Roughly $750 million (€600 million) is the estimated revenue per year from the new "Gore tax."

  • A government spokesman says that the revenue will make up for what it expects to lose from planned reductions in social taxes, which are some of the highest in Europe.

    Evidently, says the Journal, the government figures that dressing the new tax package in Al Gore green will make it go down easier.

    Source: Editorial, Belgian Role Model, Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2006.

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    For more on International Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 07 November 2006
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