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George Eustice says UK may eventually need CO2 border tax

written by Bella Palmer
george-eustice

Eustice also said the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy were looking at models for how such a tax might operate

The UK may eventually need to implement a carbon dioxide border tax to stop consumers effectively exporting greenhouse gas emissions abroad, the environment secretary has said.

On Sunday, George Eustice insisted he was not in favour of a domestic meat tax to help reduce global heating and that such a proposal had never been on the cards.

But, in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, he said that in the long term a CO2 border tax, a levy on imports related to the amount of CO2 generated by meat production, might be necessary because otherwise emission trading schemes would not work.

Eustice also said the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy were looking at models for how such a tax might operate.

Downing Street has ruled out a CO2 tax that would impose higher costs on UK meat producers and Eustice said a claim that he favoured a meat tax, based on an interpretation of an interview he gave before the start of the Cop26 summit, was wrong.

What I actually said is that in seven years we have a big programme to repurpose the agriculture budget that we have, and so there is no case for any kind of carbon emissions trading or meat tax, or any such thing in the food sector, Eustice said.

But he said the logic of emission trading schemes – imposing caps on the emissions allowed by producers – made a CO2 border tax inevitable.

Were you to introduce some kind of emissions trading scheme to try to reduce carbon emissions further then you would also need to have some kind of carbon border tax to take account of those countries that maybe weren’t pulling their weight, Eustice said, stressing that ideally this should be done multilaterally.

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